“Fell through the cracks”

Family campaigns for recognition of “diabulimia” eating disorder affecting diabetics

(Jabin Botsford/The New York Times)

Lisa Day was diagnosed with diabetes in her teen years, a time when many young women are vulnerable to developing eating disorders. For many, including Lisa’s family and doctors, they did not understand how the two might overlap for the young teen. Katie Edwards, Lisa’s sister, told The Telegraph that as Lisa learned to closely monitor her food intake to ensure she was managing her diabetes, she became obsessed with how much food she was eating, and how little food she could get away with. As she grew older, she began to cut back her insulin doses to lose more weight. Specialists in eating disorders didn’t know the signs to look for with Day’s diabetic treatment. “She knew different techniques to do it and would drop several dress sizes in matter of days,” Katie Edwards said.

The lack of insulin led Lisa to become seriously ill with kidney and eye disease, and she died in September at the age of 27. Now, her family hopes to raise awareness about diabulimia, a little-recognized eating disorder affecting patients with Type 1 diabetes, and have it recognized by England’s National Health Service as an official eating disorder so patients can get help.

“Lisa just fell through the cracks,” says Katie. “She had a great diabetics doctor who she got on well with, but they didn’t know much about eating disorders. She went to an eating disorders clinic, but they didn’t know much about diabetes.”

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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