|The unseen eating disorder.|
Seeing as today marks the end of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2013, I figured I'd write about something very close to my heart: DWED, more formally known as Diabetics With Eating Disorders.
Most people have heard of anorexia and bulimia and, what I believe is referred to as EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified - N.B. I am not a medical professional, full disclaimer here!) But what about diabulimia? The unseen eating disorder. Someone suffering from diabulimia will deliberately give themselves less insulin, or not take any at all, in order to loose weight. This weight loss occurs because when glucose levels in the body are to high and there is a lack of insulin to help convert the glucose into glycogen, the glucose is then lost through your urine, meaning the calories are lost too. Your body's response to this is to start to burn fat stores and muscles for energy, and then produces a by-product know as ketones. Ketones are highly acidic and are very dangerous. People with diabetes can end up in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and this can be fatal if left untreated.
Insulin omission is something I personally have been through. Twice now, actually (not my proudest moments, but they happened nonetheless). Not only that, but I have friends who have been through it and some who are still going through it. For me, it never started out as a weight-related issue, but more like a diabetes burnout, and along side that came the weight loss. It wasn't until people started complimenting me on the weight loss that it then escalated. But whatever the cause, the consequences are the same.
At the moment, DWED are campaigning hard to get diabulimia more widely recognised here in the UK. You can find out more about the charity and see what they've been getting up to by visiting their website here. It's a great charity where all the volunteers are committed to what they do, and maybe, at some point in the future, I will have the chance to join that team of volunteers.
(All information regarding DWED on this page has been adapted from the DWED website.)