Two Fixers with type 1 diabetes, who deprived themselves of their insulin injections in order to lose weight, are creating an information pack for health professionals to encourage support for people battling diabetic eating disorders.
Fixers Lucy Travers (24) and Alice Flower (21) both experienced a little-known eating disorder called ED-DMT1, more commonly known as ‘diabulimia’.
The condition involves type 1 diabetics manipulating their insulin intake in order to lose weight.
Insulin is vital to type 1 diabetics who need regular injections throughout their life to maintain sugar levels.
Reducing insulin intake can lead to soaring blood sugar levels, which causes the body to burn other resources for energy.
This omission can be life-threatening and has a variety of consequences including stomach problems, loss of sight, and even limb amputation due to a higher risk of infection caused by a depleted immune system.
Lucy, from Norwich, had the condition between the ages of 16 and 18. She only noticed the effects it had on her life when her eyesight became damaged.
‘When I lost my eyesight, it was a wake-up call that this condition is serious,’ says Lucy.
‘I have had to have laser surgery for the blindness, and now I always have to have glasses for reading. I lost everything because of this illness, and it has taken six years to get back to normal. I still suffer from repercussions from the illness today.’
Lucy and Alice are trying to encourage health professionals to see that just because a condition is not recognised, it does not mean no one is suffering from it.
Alice, who battled the condition for four years, says: ‘This condition takes over your life. It’s a never ending cycle, and I am lucky it has not had any long-term effects on my health.’
‘Our resource is vital because these types of eating disorders need to be recognised by medical professionals.
Lucy adds: ‘It’s a gap in the system that is really affecting people’s care. If that gap was filled, a lot of problems would be prevented.
‘We hope we can enable communication between GPs, eating disorder doctors, and diabetic specialists so effective support can be provided.’