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From Pennsylvania, USA:

I am 16 and have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes since I was 7. Around when I was 12 or so, I started to skip meals in order to lose weight. I also discovered that skipping your insulin shots also make you lose weight. I started to not eat all day and then binge at night without taking my bedtime insulin (sometimes I would skip my dinner shot too). After awhile, I would go up to 2 days without taking my shots. I was so scared of gaining weight. I have tried to eat a normal diet, but I only end up binging. I have also been to a therapist, but stopped. My parents know my problem to an extent. I am scared to tell them how bad it really is. I feel like a disappointment to them. I can't get back into healthy eating habits and am sick of being sick. Can you help? Thank You.


The first thing to do is to sit down and talk to your parents and tell them the full extent of your problem -- that's what parents are for. Don't be afraid of being a "disappointment" to them.

Skipping injections can lead to fatal ketoacidosis even if you also skip meals or induce vomiting after you eat. Even if you eat no food for a day (which is not a good idea for someone with diabetes) you will need some insulin to prevent ketoacidosis.

If your parents don't know what is happening and you get sick, they will most likely feel terrible they were not able to help you. It can be very hard to manage both the usual teenage stresses and the added stress of having diabetes (I don't know if you also have any added personal stress going on in your life.) It is very important that you ask your parents to help you continue in therapy and work with your physician and a dietitian. It sounds like you may have developed an eating disorder and should be getting the help you need from your family and experienced professionals.

If you are overweight, you can work with your physician, dietitian, and family to work out a healthy meal plan that will allow you to lose weight and to adjust the insulin dose to also keep the blood sugars normal. Keep in mind that weight loss in teenagers with diabetes is usually a slow, gradual process when successful.

If you are not truly overweight, but have an eating disorder, you might need to consider hospitalization to help you control both the eating disorder and your blood sugars.

Good luck and make sure to speak to your parents soon!


Original posting 10 Apr 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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