2014-09-22

One Mystery Solved

Via my Facebook feed, I became aware of this great article on type 1 diabetes, written by an endocrinologist who seems to understand that struggle faced by people with my condition. In it, Dr. Claresa Levetan writes as follows:
During the 1990s, I spent a great deal of my career studying the hormone amylin, which is co-secreted from the beta cell in equal concentrations as insulin. Among patients with Type 1, there is also an absence of amylin. Many patients who have used the amylin hormone replacement therapy pramlintide (Symlin®) have told me how they finally felt full after starting to use the drug; it was a feeling they hadn’t had since their diabetes began. Indeed, amylin works on two receptors in the brain that affect satiety.
People who have known me for a long time have known my persistent, uncontrollable hunger. Since my teenage years, I have seemingly always been hungry, and no amount of food has ever been able to quell my urge to eat. Even when stuffed to the brim, I still felt hungry all the time.

In an effort to better control my blood sugar (as I have previously written), I started limiting my carbohydrate intake to no more than 60 grams per meal, and my fat intake to no more than 30 grams per meal. It improved my control, and so I have stuck with it, but there is no doubt that I am now eating much fewer calories than I used to.

In spite of that fact, however, I have not experienced any weight loss whatsoever. I still work out hard every day, and most other things are essentially equal here. So the fact that a reduction in caloric intake didn't translate into weight loss always seemed to indicate to me that, however hungry I might have been, I was not eating "too little" food. But then why was I hungry?

The mystery is solved: I'm hungry all the time, no matter how much or how little I eat, because my brain is probably not receiving the right signals from the amylin hormone. I'm not really freakishly hungry all the time, I'm just basically a normal diabetic.

Maybe you've been through the same thing.