DIABULIMIA Dying to Be Thin; an Alarming Number of Young Women with Type 1 Diabetes Are Skipping Insulin Injections in the Hope of Losing Weight, *Research Has Revealed. the Result Can Be Devastating. We Investigate

The People (London, England), February 24, 2013 | Go to article overview

DIABULIMIA Dying to Be Thin; an Alarming Number of Young Women with Type 1 Diabetes Are Skipping Insulin Injections in the Hope of Losing Weight, *Research Has Revealed. the Result Can Be Devastating. We Investigate


Byline: WORDS: JUDY COGAN

Mum-of-two nicky dixon, 39, has type 1 diabetes and injects insulin up to seven times a day.

Every time she can't help thinking of her sister, who had the same condition and died nearly two years ago.

It was April 29, 2011 when Yolanda Acuna ocana passed away at the age of 39, leaving a loving husband and devoted family.

'No one expects diabetes to kill someone so young in this day and age,' says Nicky.

But Yolanda was one of the growing number of women with type 1 diabetes who deliberately miss doses of insulin to lose weight.

Diabulimia, as it is known, is on the rise. In the last 12 months more than 8,000 people have been admitted to hospital in England and Wales with symptoms because of not taking enough insulin.

Nicky, who lives in Surbiton, Surrey, with her husband Darren, 35, and their children Jude, eight, and Evie, six, said when Yolanda was diagnosed aged 14 she put on almost two stone with the insulin.

The problems started when she left home for university at 18.

'That's when she started messing around with her insulin to lose weight,' says Nicky. 'At home she had a psychologist and a support network but suddenly she was alone. She found the weight and having diabetes hard to deal with.

Yolanda had been skipping medication for between six to nine months when the crisis hit. 'We were out one night when she suddenly collapsed. I called an ambulance and when she came round she admitted what she'd been doing. She'd been taking just the bare minimum to stay alive.

'I think she was actually relieved it was out in the open, says Nicky.

But that was just the start of Yolanda's struggle.

'I kept a close eye on her but like any eating disorder she couldn't just stop. It's always there. I don't think the dangers registered with her. When you're young you think you'll live forever,' Nicky says. …

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