American Diabetes Risk Test and BED



This great info comes from our friends at Castlewood Treatment Center.  Visit them for more information on EDs, BED, treatment and their amazing model of the role of treatment teams in recovery!


Binge eating affects millions of individuals in the United States, and is more common that either bulimia or anorexia. Diagnosed in both men and women, and equally across racial barriers (African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic), binge eating is a serious disorder with long-term health consequences, including diabetes. American Diabetes Alert Day is one way that individuals can find out about their risk factors for diabetes.

Individuals receiving initial treatment for binge eating disorder (BED) may have struggled with bingeing or compulsive eating issues for many years. Over time, chronic medical conditions may develop that require medical intervention and monitoring.

Medical Issues Requiring Long-Term Care in BED

The primary chronic conditions diagnosed in those with binge eating disorder include:

  • Elevated cholesterol levels and lipid levels in the blood
  • Gallbladder disease, including gallbladder sludge and stones
  • Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Increased risk for heart disease related to elevated lipids in the blood (triglycerides)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint issues
  • GERD (gastric reflux, which causes pain, as well as erosion of the esophagus lining)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Increased risk of some types of cancer 

Some clients with binge-eating behaviors become aware of their gallbladder disease and other issues when accessing national and community health events, such as Go Red Day (for heart disease), Diabetes Alert Day and local hospital health fairs. Often individuals with medical issues, such as those mentioned above, are not even aware that they have an eating disorder until they follow up on symptoms or risk factors that were identified during a community health screening.

Keep in mind that the list of medical issues listed above are chronic and longer-term problems related to binge eating disorder, and does not address acute issues that are related to BED.

The Astute Medical Provider and BED

Even among medical providers a diagnosis of binge-eating disorder may be overlooked. Often this is due to an emphasis on the number identified on the doctor’s office scale, rather than taking the time identify the more complicated reason underlying someone’s weight. Historically, and inaccurately, overeating has been viewed by the American public a complete lack of discipline or willpower, and even deemed sinful when labeled gluttony. “Lose twenty pounds” or “get some of that weight off” isn’t a helpful suggestion for individuals who feel powerless over their compulsive eating behaviors. Genetic and neurobiological changes may be supporting these bingeing behaviors, which pulls them outside of the realm of “choosing” to over eat. Family and friends can encourage those they are concerned about to take the Diabetes Alert Day Risk Test, as a very visual way to accept that eating patterns can be damaging, and take a step towards getting help for eating behaviors such as those since in binge eating disorder.

Physicians may often recognize symptoms of anorexia and bulimia, and identification has increased as more physicians take part in training programs and eating disorder research articles are included in medical journals and resources, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But even with the increase in professional resources, occasional episodes of overeating or poor nutritional food choices may not be separated out from the constellation of specific and persistent symptoms of BED.

Being One’s Own Health Care Advocate

Feeling powerless over emotions and behaviors, and concerns about unusual physical symptoms, are always a reason to seek professional health. For many, the American Diabetes Alert Day finally helped make the connection between their eating behaviors and other physical signs and symptoms.

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