Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey last week (2nd November) participated in a debate at the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of a little-known condition named ‘diabulimia’.

Diabulimia, a term coined to represent diabetic bulimia, is an eating disorder that affects people with type 1 diabetes, whereby the person affected regularly and deliberately reduces the amount of insulin they take to reduce their weight and alter their body shape.

In Scotland, there are around 30,000 people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes who require regular insulin to control blood glucose levels. If those who suffer from diabulimia reduce or cut-out their insulin completely, then their blood glucose levels will increase dramatically. In the short term, this can cause typical symptoms of hyperglycemia, such as blurred vision and being abnormally tired, but also diabetic ketoacidosis, which is much more serious. In the medium to long term, prolonged hyperglycemia increases the risk of complications such as retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy.

Diabulimia was the subject of a well-received BBC3 documentary broadcast last month which followed the lives of three young sufferers.

Commenting, Blantyre MSP Clare Haughey said:

“Diabulimia itself is not a household name, but it is a condition which could possibly affect a large proportion of our population.

“The complications of not taking the appropriate amount of insulin are incredibly serious, so if you are struggling with the condition then please reach out and talk to someone you trust. There is help available to assist you to recovery.

“Eating disorders are a mental illness, so there is help available should you need it.

“I sincerely hope the debate has managed to increase the awareness of this devastating condition.”



Below is an image of Clare Haughey MSP speaking during the debate on ‘diabulimia’ on the 2nd November.

20171102 - Diabulimia debate

Link to view the debate:

Further information on diabulimia:


Date published: 2nd November 2017

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