Patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus are at high risk for disordered eating behaviors (DEB). Due to the fact that type 1 diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic illnesses of childhood and adolescence, the coexistence of eating disorders (ED) and diabetes often affects adolescents and young adults. Since weight management during this state of development can be especially difficult for those with type 1 diabetes, some diabetics may restrict or omit insulin, a condition known as diabulimia, as a form of weight control. It has been clearly shown that ED in type 1 diabetics are associated with impaired metabolic control, more frequent episodes of ketoacidosis and an earlier than expected onset of diabetes-related microvascular complications, particularly retinopathy. The management of these conditions requires a multidisciplinary team formed by an endocrinologist/diabetologist, a nurse educator, a nutritionist, a psychologist and, frequently, a psychiatrist. The treatment of type 1 diabetes patients with DEB and ED should have the following components: diabetes treatment, nutritional management and psychological therapy. A high index of suspicion of the presence of an eating disturbance, particularly among those patients with persistent poor metabolic control, repeated episodes of ketoacidosis and/or weight and shape concerns are recommended in the initial stage of diabetes treatment, especially in young women. Given the extent of the problem and the severe medical risk associated with it, more clinical and technological research aimed to improve its treatment is critical to the future health of this at-risk population.
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Eating disorders not otherwise specified, Disordered eating behaviors, Type 1 diabetes