Diabulimia Health Risks

Serious Complications Are Associated With Diabulimia

Misusing insulin as a way of "purging" calories consumed is an eating disorder behavior that is commonly known as "diabulimia" — a dual diagnosis of an eating disorder and type 1 diabetes. The best and most descriptive term of this condition is the Dual Diagnosis of Eating Disorder and Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 (ED-DMT1).

Know the risks of eating disorders and type 1 diabetes

There are a number of risks associated with diabulimia. At its most extreme, diabulimia can increase the risk of premature death. People with type 1 diabetes, that are also prone to eating disorder behaviors, may partake in this harmful method regularly, leading to severe consequences:

  • Diabetes complications (including onset and severity of microvascular disease and peripheral nerve damage) 

  • Hyperglycemia (elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream) resulting from insulin deficiency and leads to damage of small vessels (microvascular damage) and nerve cells, specifically peripheral nerves

  • Damage to the retina of the eye, kidneys and heart (related to microvascular disease)

  • Small nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy, pain, tingling, and even numbness of hands and feet

  • Ketonuria

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis 

​At the extreme, additional complications can include:

  • Damage to the heart

  • Damage to the kidney

  • Damage to the retina of the eye

  • Damage to peripheral nerves

  • ​​Increased mortality risk

​These serious health risks underscore the necessity to seek specialized treatment for this condition. 

Intervention for diabulimia can be life-saving

If you are concerned that you, or someone you love, is having complications associated with diabulimia symptoms, please call us at 877-825-8584 to speak confidentially with one of our Masters-level clinicians.

At our eating disorder treatment center, we can help you take immediate steps towards a full and lasting recovery from diabulimia.

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