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Diabetes eating disorder

4th July 2007

Many young diabetic women may be intentionally missing their daily insulin injections so they lose weight.

diabetes1

The charity Diabetes UK has estimated that one in three women aged under 30 - around 3,000 women in the UK - skip the jabs in order to stay slim. The injections are crucial for people who have type 1 diabetes, as they allow them to manage levels of glucose in their system. Skipping a dose can cause weight loss.

The practice of missing injections has been called "diabulimia." It is extremely dangerous, explains Matt Hunt, science information manager at Diabetes UK. "Blood glucose that is too high for too long can cause serious complications, with diabetes being the leading cause of blindness amongst the working age population in this country."

Mr Hunt warned that diabulimics risk nerve damage, cardiovascular and kidney disease as a result of "insulin abuse."

BBC's Radio One Newsbeat was deluged with correspondence from many type 1 diabetics in the UK who skip injections.

Victoria Hunter, 26, from Glasgow told the BBC that when she was a teenager she would skip injections in order to lose half a stone in a week. She said she "felt rotten all the time" as a consequence. She is worried she may have damaged her eyesight and the nerves in her legs as a result.

Mr Hunt asserted: "Teenagers and young adults need appropriate and rapid access to psychological care and support to help them manage their condition effectively."


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