Eating Disorders Are More Common in Diabetes Patients

By Johnson, Kate | Clinical Psychiatry News, July 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Eating Disorders Are More Common in Diabetes Patients

Johnson, Kate, Clinical Psychiatry News

MONTREAL -- Eating disorders occur twice as often in adolescent girls and young women with type 1 diabetes mellitus, compared with their nondiabetic peers, and prepubertal diabetic girls should be screened for these disorders routinely, experts said at an international conference sponsored by the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Studies show that full-syndrome eating disorders are present in 10%, and subthreshold disorders in 14%, of adolescent girls with diabetes, compared with 4% and 8% respectively in healthy age-matched controls, said Patricia Colton, M.D., of the University of Toronto. Her own work in diabetic girls aged 9-14 years found an 8% prevalence of subthreshold eating disorders, compared with 1% in nondiabetic controls (Diabetes Care 2004;27:1654-9).

Such disturbed eating has been linked with poor metabolic control and increased rates of diabetes-related complications--in particular, a threefold risk of diabetic retinopathy, she said. Thus, early detection and treatment of eating disorders can have long-term benefits.

It has been suggested that a collection of multiple, interacting factors contributes to the development of eating disorders in patients with diabetes, Dr. Colton said.

Before their diagnosis, many diabetic girls tend to lose weight, which can often return to above baseline after treatment begins. Insulin therapy can cause weight gain, particularly during puberty, and episodes of hypoglycemia, so common in diabetes, can trigger binge eating, which has been reported in 45%-80% of women with diabetes.

"Low blood sugar is an incredibly strong biological trigger to eat," she noted.

All these factors may contribute to feelings of body dissatisfaction and efforts to control weight, including one method unique to diabetes--the omission of insulin therapy, reported by 12%-40% of this population.

But overlying these concerns are such daily management concerns as self-monitoring, dietary restraint, and preoccupation with food, which can give rise to issues of control and rebellion, especially in the adolescent population, she said.

"Dealing with a chronic medical condition can have significant effects on the child and the family. Depression and anxiety disorders are doubled or tripled in individuals with diabetes," she said, adding that depressive symptoms have also been linked with hyperglycemia.

Established treatments for eating disorders appear effective in patients with diabetes, but tailoring these treatments more closely to diabetes-specific issues may enhance their value for this population, said Marion Olmsted, Ph.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Eating Disorders Are More Common in Diabetes Patients


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?