Eating Disorders and Insulin Restriction in Type 1

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There’s hope

Thousands of women with type 1 diabetes struggle with an eating disorder, and the problem seems to be on the rise. Still, “diabulimia” is difficult to treat. The catch-22 is that those with type 1 are taught to manage their condition by watching what they eat and their weight. But this constant attention to reading food labels and monitoring weight can feed into an eating disorder.

In addition, Dr. Goebel-Fabbri says treatment guidelines have been created based on expert clinical experience, but no large-scale research has examined best practices and treatment effectiveness for this population.

That said, women with type 1 can and do recover from this disorder. “I have worked with many women with type 1 diabetes and eating disorders. I wish I could say that they all recovered – some did, but many did not. When I asked my patients what motivated them to recover, the majority said, “I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired,” says Dr. Goebel-Fabbri.

3 Responses to Eating Disorders and Insulin Restriction in Type 1

  1. Walter Wasylko says:

    I’m a Type 1 for 48 years with bowel incontinence due to Cerebral Palsy autonomic neuropathy (AN). My gastroenterologist wasn’t able to diagnose specifically whether it could be connected with an eating disorder since AN is considered a symptom of long-term T1 complication.

  2. Michael O'Meara says:

    As a 65 year old male with type 1 diabetes for 54 years, I am curious about any such studies that may have focused on boys, male teens and/or men.

    The treatment modalities, technologies and insulins available in the 60s-early 80’s made it more challenging for physically active males to be able to avoid high blood glucose levels while more importantly avoiding the lows that forced an unpleasant interruption in physical activities and drew unwanted attention to the disease.

    In hindsight, this learned perspective that emerged from a learned tolerance for the experiences of high bg (and amazing “luck” related to avoiding the complications of high HbA1c levels) made remaining thin and relatively free of low bg an acceptable trade-off.

    For the last 20+ years, I have watched my intake, checked my bg 6+ times a day, treated high bg with ss dosing, visited my providers at least 4 times a year and now I struggle more with low bg and am obese, but , hey, my HbA1c scores are now below 7. Success? Now, my medical Team says, “…all (I) have to do differently is become more active and be more focused on checking (my) bg levels.” (Please refer to first and second paragraphs.)

    Point being: anymore, endocrinologists must help their patients with diabetes by implementing a Team-approach that includes, at least, a Nurse Practitioner (diabetes educator) and RD. Together, they can form a wholistic perspective that is better able to perceive, understand and respond to each of their patients’ unique collection of thoughts, emotions, questions, needs, behaviors and experiences. This may be challenging, but it pales in comparison with the challenges facing the person with diabetes.

    • dr suresh says:

      what regimen/dose of insulin you are following?
      what are your renal function reports?with increasing age low bl sugar is common,,renal/hepatic functions are affected.hence detals of reports required.

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