THERE is a worrying new trend among diabetic women.
Some are risking blindness, coma and even death to lose weight by skipping their insulin injections.
The trend, dubbed diabulimia, is not a recognised mental illness or eating disorder but experts are suggesting it should be.
Charities like Diabetics With Eating Disorder say the fact the condition is not medically recognised makes it harder for those who have it to seek help.
For one women, it wasn’t until her eyes became swollen that she realised something was wrong and she needed to stop her dangerous habit.
She told Broadly: “It got to the point that when I was injecting insulin, I felt like I was injecting fat.
“So then I just fell into a cycle of restricting insulin, losing weight, and feeling awful and guilty.”
Diabetes is a condition caused by high levels of glucose – or sugar – in the blood.
Glucose levels are so high because the body is unable to properly use it.
Insulin is a hormone typically produced by the pancreas and allows glucose to enter the cells in the body, where it’s used for energy.
Type 1 diabetes is where the cells in the body that typically produce insulin have been destroyed, leaving the body unable to produce the key hormone.
ARE YOU AT RISK? What is diabetes, what’s the difference between types 1 and 2, what are the signs to watch out for and how is it treated? All you need to know
There is no known cure for the condition.
Type 1 diabetics need regular insulin injections are needed to prevent severe hypoglycemia, defined as having blood sugar levels so low another person needs to treat you.
It is classified as a diabetic emergency and can cause dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness and even coma.
But insulin injections can come with a side effect of weight gain – hence why some women are choosing to skip theirs.
By the time she was hospitalised with severe side effects she was injecting just enough insulin to survive.
About 3.5 million people in the UK suffer from diabetes.
The majority of cases are type 2 (between 85-95 per cent), but the remainder is type 1 and represents about 10 per cent of the UKs general population.
It is estimated that as many as 40 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 30 with type 1 diabetes are skipping their life-sustaining insulin injections.
Some studies have indicated that women with type 1 diabetes are more than twice as likely to develop eating disorders.
The UK launched its first ever diabetes and eating disorder service at King’s College in London last year.
The programme aims to unite psychiatrists and diabetes experts in a bid to get patients the help they need and save money.
Professor Khalida Ismail, who leads the clinic, told the BBC: “They never meet patients together and it’s an inefficient use of current resources.
“I would argue we’d actually be saving money by joining up services.”
MORE ON DIABETES
Using artificial sweeteners raises your diabetes risk – by making your body absorb more REAL sugars
Type 2 diabetes cases among children soared by 14 per cent with experts calling the rise ‘hugely disturbing’
DIABETES THERAPY SAFE
Pioneering diabetes therapy in first successful trial which slows the advance of condition
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368