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[IPp] Eating Disorder, Type 1 Diabetes a Dangerous Mix

Eating Disorder, Type 1 Diabetes a Dangerous Mix
Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:26 AM ET 
  (Page 1 of 2)     

By Amy Norton 
 NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Despite the importance of nutrition in managing
type 1 diabetes, eating disorders and unhealthy weight-control tactics are not
uncommon in young women with the disease -- and the combination can lead to
serious complications, a new study shows.
 UK researchers found that among 87 teenage girls and young women with type 1
diabetes who were followed over roughly a decade, 15 percent had a probable
eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, at some point during the study.
 In addition, more than one-third reported cutting back on their insulin in an
effort to keep their weight in check, while others said they had vomited or
abused laxatives for weight control.
 Instead of fading with age, these problems became more common in young
adulthood compared with adolescence, according to findings published in the
journal Diabetes Care.
 The study included girls and young women ages 11 to 25 who were patients at a
UK diabetes clinic in the late 1980s. They were interviewed about their eating
habits, attitudes toward food and eating disorder symptoms at the start of the
study, then again when they were between the ages of 20 and 38.
 Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly
destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin -- a hormone that helps usher
the sugar from foods out of the blood and into body cells to be used for energy.
 People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections in order to
live. They also have to be careful about what and when they eat to avoid
dangerous blood sugar lows, while also sticking with their insulin regimens to
keep blood sugar levels from soaring. Over time, poor blood sugar control can
lead to complications such as kidney failure, nerve damage, vision problems and
heart disease.
 Despite the importance of healthy habits in type 1 diabetes, some patients are
able to disguise the fact that they have an eating disorder, according to Dr.
Robert C. Peveler of the University of Southampton, the lead author of the new
 "Surprisingly, some patients do manage it for a time," he told Reuters Health.
"The deterioration in their health may be quite slow and therefore hard to
 Among women in his team's study, those with a history of eating disorders were
five times more likely than their peers to suffer two or more diabetes
complications -- such as damage to the eye's blood vessels, kidney dysfunction
or nerve damage in the limbs -- over 8 to 12 years of follow-up.
 Women who had ever used unhealthy weight-control tactics or misused their
insulin faced a similarly elevated risk of complications.

 Rachel - "I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out
there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is."

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