Diabetes and Polyphagia (Extreme Starvation)

One of the difficult points of dwelling with diabetes is that it might make you further hungry for the one factor that impacts your blood sugar essentially the most: meals. Extra particularly, sugary meals.

This situation known as Polyphagia and is basically “extreme starvation.” It’s quite common in individuals with diabetes.

On this article, we’ll take a look at a number of causes of polyphagia in individuals with diabetes, and what you are able to do to handle and cut back it.

Diabetes and Polyphagia (Extreme Starvation)

What’s polyphagia?

Polyphagia is the medical time period for “extreme starvation” and it’s one of many three well-established indicators of diabetes that every one begin with the letter “p”.

  • Polydipsia: a rise in thirst
  • Polyuria: a rise in your have to urinate
  • Polyphagia: a rise in your urge for food

Whereas non-diabetics can definitely expertise ongoing polyphagia, it’s particularly widespread in individuals with diabetes as a result of each excessive and low blood sugar ranges can have a big influence in your urge for food.


What causes polyphagia?

Pinpointing the precise reason for your polyphagia as an individual with diabetes may be tough, as a result of whereas the diabetes-related causes are few, the non-diabetes associated causes are many!

Let’s take a better look.

Reason for polyphagia associated to diabetes

Subsequent, we’ll dig extra deeply into these 3 widespread causes of extreme starvation.

Why hyperglycemia (excessive blood sugar) causes extreme starvation

Hyperglycemia is “excessive blood sugar” and whereas something over 140 mg/dL is taken into account “increased than regular,” the side-effect of starvation begins when your blood sugar is crossing that 250 mg/dL line. The longer it stays about 250 mg/dL, the stronger these cravings will turn out to be.

This reason for polyphagia is particularly troublesome as a result of the extra you eat, the upper your blood sugar turns into, after which, the stronger your extreme starvation turns into, too.

Excessive blood sugar ranges straight improve your longing for meals, and particularly, sugar, as a result of your physique depends on that second-by-second supply of glucose in an effort to perform. 

When there isn’t sufficient insulin current to really make use of and transport that glucose to your mind and different cells all through the physique, your mind cues its sign for starvation.

And once more, it’s a vicious cycle as a result of the extra you eat, the upper your blood sugar turns into, the extra intense your longing for sugar turns into.



Actually, the answer right here is to work along with your healthcare workforce on lowering your blood sugar ranges.

There are a selection of therapy plans to perform this relying in your capacity to keep away from indulging these high-sugar cravings, should you’ve been identified with any sort of diabetes but, what drugs you’re at the moment taking, and what drugs might assist that you just haven’t tried.

For a lot of, resisting that urge to eat when your blood sugars are persistently over 200 mg/dL or 250 mg/dL may be very tough. Your mind is begging you for extra meals.

Most definitely, you’ll want to contemplate some mixture of insulin and different non-insulin diabetes drugs to get your blood sugar again right into a wholesome vary. Don’t wait! Whereas it may be scary to begin a brand new medicine, it’s important to not solely regulating your urge for food but additionally to stopping longterm harm in your eyes, fingers, toes, kidneys — you title it!

Plus, you’ll really feel higher! 


Why hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) causes extreme starvation

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a quite common a part of real-life with diabetes should you’re taking insulin or one other diabetes drug that may probably trigger low blood sugars. (Many non-insulin drugs can not trigger low blood sugar even when they work by decreasing your blood sugar.)

Fairly merely, the extreme craving and starvation for sugar — and meals normally — is your mind saying, “Hey! Save me! Assist me!”

For many, this longing for sugar begins when your blood sugar dips under the 80 to 70 mg/dL vary.

Your mind depends on a second-by-second supply of glucose in an effort to perform. Whereas many different programs in your physique choose glucose as their vitality supply, the mind completely wants glucose.

You may as well expertise that sudden starvation when your blood sugar is dropping quickly however continues to be at 90 or 100 mg/dL if you examine it. These cravings for meals and sugar can nonetheless kick-in due to how rapidly your blood sugar is dropping.



At the beginning, you’ll have to deal with the low blood sugar with fast-acting carbohydrates. However the common low blood sugar solely wants between 5 to 10 grams of carbohydrate in an effort to come again as much as a wholesome degree.

Some low blood sugars happen from an overdose of insulin, and these can require a considerably giant serving of carbohydrates.

Studying the best way to not over-eat throughout a low blood sugar takes time. You possibly can simply develop a behavior of letting your self eat no matter you need, and this turns into a vicious cycle that normally triggers a blood sugar curler coaster in addition to long-term weight-gain, exhaustion, and frustration. 

Step one is to be ready with fast-acting carbohydrates to deal with low blood sugars. As a substitute of consuming a meal if you’re low, or utilizing a low blood sugar as an excuse to eat cake, use sure meals as if they’re “drugs,” and you might be medicating the low with that meals.

For instance, I typically use gummy Life-Savers as a result of they include 3 to 4 grams of carbohydrate per gummy, they don’t soften or freeze, and I can retailer them simply in my nightstand, my automobile, my purse, and so on.

The second step is to work along with your healthcare workforce to regulate your insulin and drugs doses which might be inflicting these recurring low blood sugars. Some lows are simply flukes and points of juggling the numerous components that have an effect on our blood sugar. However should you’re experiencing extreme lows often, your insulin doses seemingly want some fine-tuning.


Why hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid) causes extreme starvation

Hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid) is when your thyroid gland begins producing much more thyroid hormones than it’s purported to, explains the Nationwide Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Ailments (NIDDK).

Hyperthyroid can be known as “Grave’s Illness.”

Thyroid situations are widespread in individuals with diabetes, so it’s essential you may have your thyroid ranges examined annually or should you suspect any of the typical signs

Your thyroid is positioned on the entrance of your neck, and also you’ve seemingly had a health care provider really feel this a part of your throat throughout a diabetes check-up. When an individual develops hyper- or hypothyroid, the gland is commonly noticeably swollen.

The hormones produced by your thyroid are answerable for how your physique makes use of vitality and each a part of your physique depends closely on a balanced manufacturing of those hormones.

Hyperthyroidism can have an effect on your coronary heart, bones, muscle tissues, menstruation, fertility, security for each mom and child throughout being pregnant, your physique weight, and naturally, your urge for food.

An overproduction of thyroid hormones will make you hungry! Interval. And throughout the months previous to your analysis, you’ll seemingly expertise a gradual weight-gain as your urge for food step by step will increase increasingly. 



Step one is to have your thyroid ranges examined with a blood draw at your physician’s workplace or phlebotomy lab.

In case your outcomes do present an overproduction of thyroid hormones, you’ll seemingly want to begin an “anti-thyroid” medicine that helps regulate the manufacturing of those hormones.

There are a number of choices, and very similar to insulin, they’ll should be titrated step by step along with your healthcare workforce to search out the correct dose for you. 

Different causes of polyphagia unrelated to diabetes

If not one of the diabetes-related causes of extreme starvation apply to you, there are definitely different causes to contemplate.

  • Consuming issues: bulimia, anorexia
  • Train dependancy
  • PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome)
  • Drugs: steroids, antidepressants, and so on.
  • Basic anxiousness
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Kleine-Levin Syndrome
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Marijuana 

In the event you suspect any of those components could also be contributing to your polyphagia, discuss to your healthcare workforce about getting the help you might want to handle or deal with these points. 


Polyphagia isn’t the identical as binge consuming!

Whereas each situations can contain overeating, it’s essential to emphasize that polyphagia isn’t the identical as binge consuming.

Binge consuming is outlined as episodes of uncontrolled consuming which can or will not be related to an precise feeling of starvation. Binge consuming can be sometimes characterised by lack of management throughout a binge episode and emotions of guilt after an episode.

Polyphagia merely means that you’re excessively bodily hungry. It doesn’t essentially contain a psychological or emotional longing for meals.

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