Now we have a synthetic version of this missing hormone, called Symlin. It's something I've used off and on for a while, and when I am actively using it there is a very clear difference in how I relate to food. But it can sometimes be hard to use. Because it slows the digestion of your meal, you have to play around with the timing of your meal insulin. If you get that timing wrong, you can end up struggling with some lingering and difficult-to-treat low blood sugars. That's scary. Symlin is something that is injected before each meal, and for a long-term pump user, that's difficult for me too. Sometimes I forget the pen, and sometimes I just hate the idea of taking a shot (I know, 30 years of diabetes and I don't want to take a shot, what's that all about?). Sometimes the scenario of my blood sugar and remaining insulin in my system from a previous bolus make it unsafe to take Symlin. It adds a handful of additional variables into an already often confusing lifestyle of living with diabetes.
Working around all of these issues can be hard, but I'm really trying to use the Symlin more often. There's such a difference in how I feel when I'm using it. It is an amazing, but very subtle, feeling, to be satisfied with what I've eaten.
Thinking about these two factors (the old insulin peaks and the missing amylin) with my type 1 diabetes, I wondered if there might be many more people fighting a different kind of eating disorder than what is typically thought of? It is not talked about at all, in either the medical arena or the online community in general. Or maybe I just don't know about it?
As a male, eating disorders were never even talked about. In fact, I don't even think I knew what an eating disorder was until I grew up a bit. Why is that? With contributing factors, maybe eating disorder discussion should be done more, even with males? Is it harder for a male to admit and seek help? I don't think so. Just being a female doesn't make something like this easier. But I would bet the ratio of males to females is pretty uneven.
A good friend of mine says diabetes is a glorified eating disorder. Diabetes makes food so complicated for me. Is it an issue of its own, or is it a part of dealing with my diabetes? I don't know. I know that diabetes certainly contributed to these issues I have with food. But is it a "full blown" eating disorder? Are there degrees of eating disorders? We (the diabetes community, health care professionals, and everyone involved) need to talk about it more. We need to shine some light on it.
Am I alone with these issues, or do you fight with your food too?
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dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...