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Health Consequences of Eating Disorders

Health Consequences of Eating Disorders

The time when the bodies of your children undergo changes, they tend to develop a new image of their own sexuality and attractiveness. In addition, when they start adding weight and round out, their casual relationship with food and their eating becomes more complex.

 Studies have shown that many  children become victims to societal pressures during their teenage phase and  may suffer from  lifelong obesity  and many more   medical risks associated with obesity, such as  heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and even damage to the oesophagus which is caused due to bulimia and other body image issues and disorders. Children who positively and successfully accept these changes may mature into confident and healthy individuals who respect and value their own bodies and are in full control of their eating habits which is required for their right development.

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Anorexia Nervosa

This is a serious eating disorder which involves self starvation where the body is denied of the essential nutrients which are required for normal functioning. Body is thus forced to slow down all its functions, resulting in serious medical problems and its main features are:

  • Refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
  • intense fear of gaining weight
  • A distorted body image
  • Further health complications may includeheart damage, infertility, osteoporosis; muscle loss and weakness, some women will often stop having menstrual periods, stomach problems, severe dehydration which can result in kidney problems, dry skin and hair, fainting, fatigue, overall weakness   and even death in severe cases.

There are  2 types of anorexia which are commonly seen are:

  • Purging: in this type the weight loss is achieved by vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics.
  • Restricting: in this type the weight loss is achieved by restricting calories by following fasting, drastic diets and exercising to excess.

Bulimia Nervosa:

The affect of frequent binge and purge series of bulimia may affect the entire digestive system and it may lead to chemical and electrolyte imbalances in the body which might affect the functions of the heart and other major organs.  Health problems due to bulimia nervosa include:

  • Dental problems like tooth staining and tooth decay caused by the stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
  • Frequent and excess use of laxatives might lead to chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation.
  • As the result of purging behaviour electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration which leads to loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body. Thus electrolyte imbalances may lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death.

Binge Eating Disorder(BED)

This eating disorder is associated with clinical obesity due to eating large amounts of food in a short time frame ; eating when not hungry; even eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable; eating normally during meal times; and then again eating large amounts of food; feeling disgusted or depressed or guilty after eating large amounts of food.

       Health problems due to this eating disorder are:

  • Weight gain.

And due to overweight and obesity, the health problems faced are:

  • Heart disease due to elevated triglyceride levels, Diabetes, osteoarthritis, Stomach problems, joint and muscle pain, Gallbladder disease, Sleep apnea, High blood pressure, High cholesterol.
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