Tag: diabetes

Guest post: Eating Disorders and Diabetes

Stiina Marie is an American who blogs from Norway. I flirt with prediabetes (100-125 mg/dl) when my diet is carb-heavy. I’ve thought long and hard about how I would manage my day, my meals and my exercise if I passed the arbitrary 125 mg/dl cut off point. I know I would be as frustrated as she is. This is why I take precautions, such as losing weight (down to 177.5–a loss of 2.5 lbs this past month) keeping my fasting blood sugar below 100 mg/dl and eating real food instead of processed.

 

Eating Disorders and Diabetes

by Stiina Marie

I sat there, once again in the chair, ready to be bombarded with weight, exercise and eating questions. This was like my brain, 24/7. Don’t they understand? I plan all my meals, my drinks, my exercise, and weigh myself several times a day hoping the number changes. I don’t need to be constantly reminded I could die if I don’t care as much as I do about my habits and body. I don’t like being told it’s not enough but I’m told that every time I sit in that chair.

This has been my life for five years.

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Medical personnel don’t seem to realize the mental toll it can take on a diabetic. I wondered if this kind of talk and constant reminding could conjure an eating disorder. I was sadly right. These are disorders common to specifically those with diabetes:

  • Orthorexia: A fairly new disorder label, this disease is about being obsessive about what you eat to the point that you actually hurt yourself.  One cares so much about nutrients and what not to eat they can become almost phobic of certain foods that are deemed “impure”, leave out foods/food groups in their diet, worry obsessively about their next meal and need to be in control of what they consume.  Hours are spent planning out food, researching and looking at food. 
  • Diabulima: This type of disorder refers to stopping, lessening or skipping insulin injections and running a high blood sugar in order to lose weight.  This is very dangerous to do because high blood sugars can land you in a coma and/or cause death. They can also cause problems in the long run such as kidney failure and blindness. I will not mention how this is done specifically because it can be well hidden from doctors and other people.

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Considering these are indeed issues in the diabetic community, I am shocked and appalled there isn’t much light shed on them through medical personnel know of them. I know they do because I was asked if I was skipping insulin doses to lose weight (diabulima). I told them I didn’t have a clue that skipping insulin would do that. She politely nodded and said okay and moved on without much explaining. Google researching told me about diabulimia and another blog author’s information lead me to find orthorexia.

I really believe these two disorders should be added to that fancy-shmancy DSM manual thing. Oh yeah, they aren’t officially disorders. Strange, huh? These disorders won’t go away as long as diabetes is becoming more common and healthcare professionals don’t acknowledge them as an issue. There needs to be a plan. How do you talk about diabetic needs without making the diabetic individual obsessive? How do you discuss positive body image when diabetics typically have weight problems? More importantly, how do you treat individuals with diabulima and/or orthorexia that are still diabetic?