There has been a correlation between an bulimia and both type I and type II diabetes. In one case, the diabetes makes the person more susceptible to bulimia and other eating disorders. Bulimia can also increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Type I diabetes is commonly called juvenile diabetes. One of the risk factors for developing bulimia is following a restrictive diet. Perhaps, the dietary restrictions associated with type I diabetes makes the person prone to an urge to binge. The focus on food restrictions and considering some foods as forbidden or bad that people with diabetes may have are similar to attitudes towards food that some people with bulimia.
The person with type I diabetes may fear that the food eaten during the binge will cause their blood glucose levels to rise too much. To counteract this, they may try to get rid of the food by inducing vomiting. Following the restrictive diet then binging and purging can become a cycle and lead to the development of bulimia.
Bulimia is thought to be a risk factor for developing type II diabetes. Type II diabetes is also called adult onset diabetes or diabetes mellitus. If the person with bulimia binges but does not purge, it can cause the person to become overweight which increases the risk of type II diabetes.
Some people believe that behaviors associated with eating disorders can trigger the development of diabetes. One thought is that repeated binging can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin. If the insulin is ineffective in keeping blood sugar levels within normal range, diabetes occurs.
If a person has both diabetes and bulimia, both conditions can be more difficult to manage. Managing blood sugar levels can become extremely difficult if the person is binging and purging frequently. Fluctuations in weight that bulimia often causes can also make diabetes more difficult to manage.
The risks of some complications of diabetes increase if the person also has bulimia. Diabetes can cause impaired circulation, nerve damage, kidney damage, and blindness. Bulimia increases the risk for the use diabetes complications.
If someone with type I diabetes fasts to avoid gaining weight from binges, the the amounts of insulin circulating in their body can become dangerously low. This can lead to a potentially fatal condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.