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Diabetes UK responds to 'diabulimia' story

The UK media is currently reporting on ‘diabulimia’, when people with diabetes do not take their daily insulin injections in order to lose weight.

"It is very difficult to know precisely how many young people are abusing their insulin in order to lose weight, as it is unlikely to be owned up to at the time of misuse," responded Diabetes UK's Matt Hunt, Science Information Manager.

"Diabetes UK estimates that up to 1 in 3 young women may be abusing their insulin at any one time because of a fear of weight gain and pressure to be thin - in the UK this translates to around 3,000 teenage girls.

"This eating disorder is extremely dangerous. Blood glucose that is too high for too long can cause serious complications, with diabetes being the leading cause of blindness amongst the working age population in this country. Cardiovascular disease can also result from a long period of insulin abuse as well as kidney disease and nerve damage.

"Diabetes is a chronic condition. Teenagers and young adults need appropriate and rapid access to psychological care and support to help them manage their condition effectively. There also needs to be improved transitional care services from children to adult diabetes services which, at present, do not always adequately address young adults needs.

"It must however be remembered that many people with diabetes manage their condition effectively and live full and healthy lives."

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