National Eating Disorders Week hopes to raise awareness: How to get help

Designed to raise awareness of conditions such as anorexia and bulimia, National Eating Disorders Week occurs Feb. 23 to March 1. It’s also intended to help sufferers, parents and friends discover how to get help as well as what to do to prevent these diseases, reported Forbes on Feb. 22.

The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, but the causes and solutions are not so easily categorized, say experts.

“Eating disorders are complicated and vexing problems and we don’t exactly understand the pathophysiology of them,” noted Dr. Aaron Krasner, a practicing psychiatrist, and Director of the Adolescent Transitional Living Program at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut.

“Certainly there is both a genetic component and an environmental component,” he added. But “it is not a one size fits all remedy or a preventive strategy.”

An estimated 10 million women and one million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder, according to the Eating Disorder Foundation.

And eating disorders do not discriminate: Addiction specialist Drew Pinksy’s daughter Paulina just revealed that she battled bulimia and anorexia for seven years, reported USA Today on Feb. 24.

“Purging eight times in one day to cope with the emotional stress of being home during spring break had finally scared me enough to take action,” she wrote in an essay on body shame.

One of the keys to recovery: Talking about it rather than trying to hide the disorder, says Paulina.

“For me, talking about it normalizes talking about it. Eating disorders shouldn’t be a secret because that’s what perpetuates them,” she explained.

Dr. Drew said he takes pride in his daughter’s decision to get help.

“When she recognized she needed help she sought treatment and actively engaged in the process. And now she is using her insights to help others,” he stated.

But for those with eating disorders, the path to recovery can be long and difficult, revealed Jenni Schaefer recently in the Huffington Post. She’s the author of “Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem? (The Almost Effect)” and “Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too” (click for details).

Even after getting professional help, Jenni remained too thin. And she was obsessed with the “thigh gap” look symptomatic of women who are unnaturally slender.

Unsafe Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar refers to the amount of sugar–or glucose–in your blood. The hormone insulin helps the body process and use glucose. Normally, blood sugar increases after eating, and the pancreas releases insulin to regulate glucose levels. In people with diabetes (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), the body is not able to regulate blood sugar on its own, resulting in sometimes very dangerous reactions.

High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar occurs when there is not enough insulin produced, or when the body cannot properly process insulin. Blood sugar that remains high for a long time can cause serious damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves. Some signs of high blood sugar include high blood glucose levels in a blood or urine test, frequent urination and an increase in thirst.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar can be caused by stress, hunger and insulin reactions. If you have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia or with diabetes, it is important to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and to know how to treat this condition. Symptoms include shakiness and dizziness, sweating, severe feelings of hunger, sudden moodiness, lack of concentration and clumsiness.

Normal Levels of Blood Sugar

There are several types of blood glucose tests, which include fasting blood sugar, postprandial blood sugar and random blood sugar testing. Fasting blood sugar tests measure glucose levels after 8 hours without food or drink and should result in a normal range of 70 to 99 milligrams glucose per deciliter of blood; postprandial blood sugar tests measure glucose levels within two hours after eating and should result in a range of 70 to 145 mg/dL; random blood sugar tests are taken at intervals throughout the day and should result in glucose levels of 70 to125 mg/dL. Blood sugar levels higher or lower than these ranges are not considered normal and should be monitored closely. Danger zones include fasting blood sugar above 126 mg/dl or below 50 mg/dl.