Young women with this condition are risking their health to be thinner, thinner, thinner.
I have type 1 diabetes and part of my management is to give myself insulin. I do this with a small device that delivers insulin via a cannula that sits under the skin. Others use syringes loaded with insulin or pre-filled ‘pens’.
The amount of insulin I give myself varies depending on what and how much I eat, if I am exercising, hormones, stress levels and pretty much everything else in life! Basically, insulin is a drug that lowers the glucose levels in the blood by allowing the glucose to enter the body’s cells where it is used for energy.
But here’s the scary thing. If I wanted to, I could stop giving myself insulin. This would result in a few things:
I’d start to feel really thirsty and find myself peeing. A lot. When I say thirsty, I mean a never-able-to-be-quenched dryness that cannot be satisfied no matter how much water I guzzle down. I would start to feel nauseous and light headed. My limbs would get heavy and a fog of exhaustion would come over me.
If I did this for a few days, my vision would start to blur. I would start to get short of breath and if you got close enough, my breath would smell sweet. I would feel terrible and if I did this for long enough could wind up in a coma.
And I would lose weight.
This is what happens when blood sugar levels are too high. Without insulin, the ‘pathway’ for glucose to move into the cells is shut down. The omission or restriction of insulin for the purpose of weight loss is a very real disorder for many people living with type 1 diabetes.
Despite being warned (and aware) of terrible diabetes-related complications, (which include diabetic eye disease, kidney failure and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke to name just a few ), the lure of losing weight – quickly and easily – is incredibly strong for many. And long-term complications are a long way off, right? Plus, humans are hard-wired to feel invincible.