NUTRITION HOTLINE: Diabetes

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Q: Can having an eating disorder cause me to get diabetes? How would someone know they have diabetes? What can be done to prevent it?

A: People with bulimia or binge eating disorder may be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes if they are overweight, or if diabetes runs in their family. The most common symptoms of diabetes are excessive hunger, excessive thirst and urination, and change in body weight (difficulty losing weight losing is common in adults, although weight loss can also occur). Diabetes is diagnosed when your fasting blood sugar is 126 mg/dl or greater, and pre-diabetes is diagnosed when your fasting blood sugar is 100–125 mg/dl. Check with your physician to see how often you should have blood work done.

In most people who become diabetic a genetic vulnerability exists, but there are things you can do to prevent it. Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day puts less stress on the pancreas and helps to prevent insulin resistance. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding bingeing, getting regular exercise, practicing stress management techniques, and sleeping eight hours per night will all help to maintain normal insulin sensitivity and prevent diabetes. Contrary to popular belief, eating sugar does not cause diabetes. For more information, check out the American Diabetes Association web site at www.diabetes.org.

By Diane Keddy, MS, RD
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Winter 2007 Volume 5, Number 1
©2007 Gürze Books

About the Author

Diane Keddy, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian with a private practice in Newport Beach, CA.

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