I wanted to write a post about diabulimia as it impacts many people within the diabetes community. I myself have never suffered with this condition but feel that as a diabetes blogger I have a huge responsibility to spread awareness of this condition.
So, what is diabulimia? It is a condition where type 1 diabetes sufferers restrict their insulin intake due to a fear of gaining weight. This restriction of insulin can have quiet adverse effects on the body.
Living with type 1 diabetes means, being extremely attentivewhen it comes to food, carbohydrates counting, as well as being focused onmaintaining a good weight, blood glucose levels and HbA1c. Not only that, butthe many disruptions that can occur within the body when a blood glucose level fallsand rises can be challenging to maintain. All these volatilities can makediabetes a high risk for developing an eating disorder.
Being able to persist with the daily demands ofadministering insulin can be difficult for any diabetic. For those withdiabulimia it is a constant challenge and these individuals restrict theirinsulin administration several times a day, a week or omit it completely.
Having a platform to share and speak to people you can trust gives you the strength to continue this difficult journey. I can say that I have been quite fortunate to have had this throughout my years with the condition and, I’ve learnt to develop my own inner strengths.
The leading type 1 diabetes charity JDRF estimates 60,000 15 to 30-year-olds are living with T1 in the UK.
Diabetes and mental health experts believe up to 40% of those will at some point restrict their insulin over a “fear of fatness”.
Social media and imagines in magazine and on television have a huge part to play in the way that women and men perceive themselves. These images can be detrimental to how a person my feel about themselves.
“Body image pressure is helping to drive ever increasing numbers of young people to the health service for treatment and support and while diabulimia is rare it can be just as deadly as other more common eating disorders’’. Claire Murdoch, national director for mental health at NHS England
So,what happens to the body when someone suffers with diabulimia?
The symptoms that can occur are like those that occur with anindividual before they are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. You can read mystory here to see what my experiencewas like. I had all the following symptoms listed below.
- Believe it or not, hunger is oneof the symptoms that can occur – The body’s cells can’t get theenergy they need from food. This makes the cells in the body believe that theyare starving which in turn sends signals to the brain which increases thefeeling of being hungry.
- Frequent urination also occurs– Due to high blood glucose levels, the body tries to get rid of the excess glucosein the blood by producing extra urine. An individual with high blood glucoselevels will go to the toilet a lot more frequently.
- Thirst –a result of frequent urination is that the body will become dehydrated andtherefore the individual will consume more liquids than normal.
- Tiredness –The body is unable to burn glucose for energy, this in turn will deplete thebody’s cells of energy therefore the body will get tired very easily.
- Fruitysmelling breath – When cells are unable to receive glucose, the body will burn fatfor energy. This creates an acid called ketones. ketones cause the breath to have a fruitysmell.
- Breathing problems. – breathing will become a problem asthe body tries to get rid of the excess build up of the ketones. The individualwill breath harder and faster (similar to someone who is out of breath afterrunning).
- Blurry Vision– Extra glucose can increase liquid within the eyes which can cause changes invision, making it harder to focus and even damaging the eyes.
- Weight Loss –When the body burns fat instead of glucose this can lead to weight loss.
- Infections -Due to the increase levels of glucose in the body, germs in the body have anexcess of the ideal environment they need to thrive in, making it easier forthe body to develop infections and harder for the body to get rid ofinfections.
“Diabulimia is a serious eating disorder which – without the right clinical and mental health support – can have devastating consequences, such as stroke, kidney failure and blindness. It can also be fatal’’. Libby Dowling, senior clinical advisor at Diabetes UK
NHS UK have plans to start a new therapy programme to help individuals suffering with the condition by joining up treatment of diabetes with mental health treatment. Patients will be offered clinical support to manage their insulin intake, as well as having specialist day care centres to give advice on structured meal planning and blood glucose levels. More training will also be rolled out for healthcare professionals to increase their knowledge and understanding of the condition as well as specialist eating disorder teams in diabetes and mental healthcare being accessible.
“As a diabetes clinician, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact that this condition can have on people and their families and so these services are an important step forward in the recognition of diabulimia’’. Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England
Whilst the programme is a great step in managing and increasing knowledge and awareness of both diabetes and diabulimia. The programme will only help people in the south of England. With the increasing numbers of individuals suffering from diabulimia in the UK, combining services of diabetes specialists and mental healthcare specialist will need to take effect soon to reduce the escalating numbers of diabulimia sufferers. I hope that once this new pilot has been tested in the south it will then continue to progress throughout the country, improving the lives of people affected with diabulimia and hopefully we will see a reduced number of diabulimia sufferers.
Today, November 14th marks one of the most important days in the diabetes calendar, World Diabetes Day. On this day, we remember one of the most prominent figures in diabetes, Sir Frederick Grant Banting, the man responsible for co-discovering insulin, as a source of treatment for diabetics in the early 1900s.You can read more about it here.
Although, you may know of his work surrounding discovery of insulin, there is however much more to him than just his involvement with diabetes.
Here are a few facts about him:
- First World War – Sir Frederick Grant Banting, served in both World War I and World War II. He was wounded during the First World War and received the Military Cross for “distinguished and meritorious services in time of war,” for attending to injured soldiers for up to 17 hours, even though he was badly injured himself.
- Second World War -During the Second World War, his aircraft crashed. The pilot died instantly. As a passenger on the plane, he was wounded and also died from his injuries and exposure on the following day, February 21st, 1941.
- Personal Life – Sir Frederick Grant Banting was married twice to Marion Robertson in 1924 – 1932 and married Henrietta Ball in 1937 – 1941. In his first marriage, he had a son called William Roberson Bill Banting 1928- 1998.
- Featured in a Comic – Banting was featured in a comic book by the
Corporation of America. He appeared alongside other famous historical figures.
- Aviation – Due to Banting’s interest in aviation he was in charge of research done on behalf of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He researched phycological issues faced by pilots flying aircraft’s as well as blackouts experienced by these pilots.
- Artist – Banting became an acclaimed artist, joined painter A.Y. Jackson and travelled around Canada painting iconic Northern landscapes and the Canadian Rockies.
HAPPY WORLD DIABETES DAY EVERYONE
Source: Je suis fatigué of the monthly P
Diabetes living is undeniably a struggle. It’s relentless and arduous in every sense. This life-long illness’ is far from enjoyable. Many may say that diabetes does not define them, which is true. …
Source: Positivity Jar
We all know that when it comes to managing our diabetes, how essential it is to have a good doctor or consultant. During my time living with this condition, I can honestly say I’ve had less than a handful of good doctors. By “good” doctor I mean a doctor who will converse with you and not talk at you. A doctor who will give you advice whilst listening to your suggestions because after all you’re the one living with this condition on a daily basis. A doctor who takes your appointment just as seriously as you do and doesn’t make it a joke. A doctor who is just as dedicated as you are in helping you achieve something out of that 20, 30, 40 minute appointment. A doctor who actually cares about you and doesn’t scrutinise every low or high BG reading they see written down.
As a child I had great doctors, who explained everything to me and my parents and made me feel at ease. It wasn’t until I was moved to the adult diabetes clinic (which by the way was very daunting at 18), that I actually started to experience first-hand what dare I say a” bad” doctor was. Ever since I started at the adult diabetes clinic, I’ve had doctors who haven’t taken my appointment time or me very seriously. They were quick to point fingers, didn’t want to hear anything I had to say and personally I think they weren’t right for me or my diabetes.
I dreaded every appointment and would leave the appointment without any new ideas on how to work towards managing my diabetes even further. My time had been wasted and all I had to work with was negative and useless facts. On a positive note, I must say the nurses have always been a very strong support system in the clinic and in most cases they were better than the doctors I’d met.
I was also very fortunate to experience good doctors during my pregnancies, which is a completely different ball game. The doctors during my pregnancy set a very high standard, which made me fearful to return to the doctors I had previously. They were thorough, patient, caring, everything you’d expect from a good doctor. Nevertheless, before I was transferred back to the adult diabetes clinic, I decided to talk to the diabetes consultant. He helped me get through my pregnancies and knew all about my concerns when it came to finding the right doctor. He recommended a new doctor who was due to start at the diabetic clinic, so I went with it. When I finally got to meet this new doctor, I was extremely anxious because I had no idea who I’d get.
“Would it be the good doctor or the bad doctor?”
Well, I’m glad to say that this time I got a great doctor. He introduced himself and then instead of asking me a million and sixty question about my diabetes, I could tell that he had read my files. He’d looked at the notes beforehand and knew exactly where I was up to. Great! No silly questions like,
“When did you become diabetic?”
He did however ask me to present my sugars and my BG meters. He downloaded all the data and I waited for his reaction to some of my low lows and high high’s. I braced myself for a good telling off, but nothing came. He made notes and really studied my BG levels. Then would you believe we had a conversation about where and how we could tighten things up. He didn’t say, “Why was it so low here? “Why was it high there?” or “What did you eat here?” We all know that sometimes we can’t even remember what we ate the night before, let alone that Wednesday night six months ago.
So far so good. I gave him a thumbs up!
We went over everything from blood results, to trying out different setting on my pump, to exercise. We covered everything. What I really liked, is that he set out a goal for the following appointment. We discussed basal testing (this is the background insulin) at certain times where my sugars were a little crazy and to not freak out and over bolus (give myself too much insulin) when I see my BG going too high. I left my appointment feeling like I had achieved something out of the time. It wasn’t time wasted like it used to be. I felt determined. I was going to meet the goals he had set out for me. I was going to do it, not for him but for me!
To be continued…………
I usually have a few questions I ask myself when I’m meeting a new doctor. Will this doctor help me on this difficult road I’m on? Or will he make my journey that much harder?
Here are a few of the things I ask myself:
– Is the doctor empathetic: Does this doctor try to understand what I am feeling and experiencing, physically and emotionally and can he/she communicate that understanding to me?
– Is the doctor forthright: Can this doctor tell me what I need to know so I am able to understand everything clearly?
– How respectful is this doctor: Does the doctor listen and take my comments seriously and works with me?
– Is this doctor caring and patient?
– Is this doctor thorough, conscientious and persistent?
– Does this doctor have substantial diabetes knowledge? For example, current events, CGM sensors, blood glucose meters and pumps etc? Because what’s the point in talking to a doctor who doesn’t even understand how the pump functions?
If you’ve not figured it out yet, having a good diabetes doctor is extremely important when it comes to managing your diabetes. I do believe sometimes you have to experience the bad before you are able to know what is right for you. I hope at least that my post will help you when it comes to finding the right doctor for you.
Thanks for stopping by
This week in the UK is diabetes week and this year’s theme is ‘I can’.
Diabetes has been a part of my life since I was 11 years old. At such a young age I had the burden of such a huge responsibility. It forced me to mature, it taught me about myself and even more so how I am able to deal with my emotions.
When I was diagnosed I went through a range of emotions from being angry, to being very upset about the hand I was dealt. This would have daunted anyone but I had a realisation that actually “I can do this”. And with time I also realised that, I can do anything that anyone else can do regardless of my diabetes.
As a newly diagnosed diabetic, being able to deal with emotions is crucial to being able to progress and live a normal life. Looking back to how I dealt with those emotions, it helped me move on with my life and live normally. Yes I have my bad days but I am able to push through and get the job done.
Diabetes is a priority in my life but not the only priority. I have not allowed it to be my main focus and stop me from being able to achieve everything that I’ve aspired to do. This may sound strange but I take care of it, so in fact it takes care of me. It has not crushed me and will never hold me back. It has propelled me into so many different directions. From being able to go to university and study, to travelling the world, to even being able to have this blog and ultimately being able to have my beautiful children. Even something as small as being able to drive. I can do it because diabetes has not prevented me from being able to do so. I won’t let it be a hindrance.
Even with diabetes you most certainly can do whatever you put your mind to.
I can. If I can, you can too.
Insulin dependent? CHECK
Taking Metformin? ERR CHECK
Yup your vision isn’t failing you. I’m a type 1 diabetic on Metformin. I started to take metformin over 4 years ago alongside my insulin pump therapy. I began to notice that my insulin basal doses seemed to be increasing steadily on a monthly basis. In fact my basal doses had more than doubled over a course of 4 months.
So what is Metformin?
Metformin – is a drug, which is usually used to treat type 2 diabetics. It is commonly given to type 2 patients who are overweight, obese and with normal kidney function. It is also used to treat gestational diabetes and polycystic ovaries.
I wasn’t overweight or obese and I maintained a good healthy weight for several years. So why did I need it all of a sudden? It just made no sense at all. Being the scientist that I am, I started to look for different research papers which might be related to metformin and type 1 diabetes. A lot of the papers I came across only made mention of type 2 diabetics taking this drug due to insulin resistance.
Wikipedia states that, Insulin resistance (IR) is a physiological condition in which cells fail to respond to the normal actions of the hormone insulin. The body produces insulin, but the cells in the body become resistant to insulin (through changes in their surface receptors) and are unable to use it as effectively. Beta cells in the pancreas increase their production of insulin, further contributing to hyperglycaemia. This often remains undetected and can contribute to a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
Could it be that I’d developed some sort of insulin resistance specific to type 1 diabetes? HMMMM!! As I delved deeper, I came across a paper which talked about insulin resistance occurring in type 1 diabetics. Just like type 2 diabetics, type 1 diabetics are also known to suffer from insulin resistance. Metformin had been mentioned as a drug which was able to lower the amount of insulin required, by helping the body move and use the insulin more efficiently.
So maybe in my case the insulin from my insulin pump wasn’t being used and moved around my body efficiently!
I decided to make an appointment to see both my diabetic doctor and nurse to see what they thought, without telling them the extensive research I’d done. After a lengthy conversation they also came to the conclusion I might be Insulin resistant and suggested that I try Metformin. They explained all the past and recent research done, the success people with both type 1 and 2 diabetes have experienced with this drug.
So I thought,” why not, what’s the worst that can happen?”
Initially, I started to take (500mg metformin, prolonged release tablets), once a day with my evening meal. Almost instantly I noticed that the amount of insulin I had needed prior to metformin began to reduce. I was then advised to increase my dose to (500mg prolonged release twice a day) with my evening meal.
I started to experience different side effects. Some of the good side effects were, my HbA1c dropped from 7.9% to 7.0%. I dropped a few pounds and my insulin requirement continued to decrease drastically. Some of the unpleasant side effects were, severe abdominal pain followed by gas and severe upset stomach, which would then settle after 24 – 48 hours. Later I realised that this was down to sometimes forgetting to take my tablet. So if you make the decision to take metformin, remember not to skip your dose.
I began to think this drug really was amazing! It was reducing my insulin intake, my HbA1c was fantastic and I was in even greater shape than I was before. This all became extremely important because my husband and I had made the decision to try to conceive. When I finally conceived, I continued to take metformin for the first 4 months of my pregnancy. I then stopped taking it completely until nearly a year after my pregnancy. I’ll go further into this when I do my post on diabetes and pregnancy.
As a type 1 diabetic, if you’re considering metformin, I’d definitely recommend talking to your doctor first. “Do your own research, prepare questions to ask your doctor. Be prepared!” After all it is your body. You must remember that, we all react to medication in different ways and you may or may not have the same results that I did. However, I strongly feel that the metformin played a great part in reducing my HbA1c and also more than halving my insulin basal dose. Perhaps the metformin combined with other factors such as eating a low carb diet, exercising and eating healthily, which I was doing prior to taking metformin helped to achieve good results with the drug.
Rules for this award:
- Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you
- Answer five super sweet questions
- Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in your blog post
- Nominate 12 other bloggers
Time for the 5 sweet questions:
- Cookies or cake? – I’d have to go with cake, especially any homemade cake Yummy!
- Chocolate or vanilla? – This is a hard one because I like both so much. Chocovanilla combo.
- Favourite sweet treat? – Apple pie and custard
- When do you crave sweet things the most? – As a Type 1 diabetic I try not to over indulge in too many sweet things. The only time I do is when my blood glucose level drops.
- Sweet nick name? – Honey, Mimi, Mami lol
My 12 super sweet nominees:
- Cassey Ho
- Kerri Morrone Sparling : Six until me
- Type One Fun
- Bitter sweet diagnosis
- Keeping it real
- My lazy Pancreas
- Bitter Sweet
- Rolling in the D
- Despite Diabetes
- Texting my pancreas