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Diabetes' link to eating disorders explored
Date:3/11/2010

Diabetics, under the gun to better manage their disease by controlling their food intake and weight, may find themselves in the sticky wicket of needing treatment that makes them hungry, researchers said.

Attempts to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and prevent weight gain may suggest an eating disorder when the disease and its treatment are to blame, said Dr. Deborah Young-Hyman, pediatric psychologist at the Medical College of Georgia's Georgia Prevention Institute.

"You can't use the same criteria to diagnose eating disorders that you use in non-diabetic populations because what we actually prescribe as part of diabetes treatment is part of disordered eating behavior. Food preoccupation is one example," she said.

Preoccupation with food, in fact, is required for optimal disease management. Questions like "What are you putting in your mouth? Did you know that was going to raise your blood sugar?" are a part of life, Dr. Young-Hyman said. Young women, and increasingly young men, also are not immune from societal pressures to be thin, she noted.

Side-by-side comparisons of young people with and without diabetes are needed to answer fundamentals such as the incidence of eating disorders among diabetics, who is at risk and whether treatment can be modified to reduce the risk, researchers report in a review article in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

Answers could include better methods of insulin delivery and new therapies that address hunger-related hormones, which also become dysregulated in type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Young-Hyman and her colleagues extensively reviewed related literature enabling them to connect the dots between the disordered eating behavior reported by some diabetics with the dysregulation of hunger-related hormones and/or inadequate management of insulin therapy.

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas complicating foo
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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