There are different kinds of eating disorders and all of them are serious and potentially life-threatening that affect not only a person’s physical health but also its emotional health. They are real, complex, and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences and not something people just catch, nor it is just a “fad” or a phase”. If professional help is given to people who are struggling with this kind of disorder the greater is their likelihood of physical and emotional recovery.
People who suffer with eating disorders often does not show outward signs, unknown to their family and friends, they are experiencing overwhelming internal feelings that might have catapulted them to rely on symptoms to control intense pain, anxiety or other troubling emotions. Behavioural signs of a person having a disorder may include constant adherence to increasingly strict diets, habitual trips to the bathroom immediately after eating, secretly bingeing on large amounts of food, hoarding large amounts of food, consumption of laxatives, diuretics or diet pills, exercising compulsively, often several hours per day and using prescription stimulant medications and/or illicit stimulant drugs to suppress appetite.
Here are its health consequences:
Anorexia Nervosa – Self-Starvation
The body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally, thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, resulting in serious medical consequences. The heart rate abnormally slows and blood pressure drops, so risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower. Bone density is reduced (osteoporosis). Muscle loss and weakness. Severe dehydration. Fatigue, and overall weakness. Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common. Growth of a downy layer of hair called lanugo all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.
Bulimia Nervosa – Binge-And-Purge
Bulimia can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions.Some of its health consequences are Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death. Potential for gastric rupture during periods of bingeing. Inflammation and possible rupture of the oesophagus from frequent vomiting. Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting. Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse. And peptic ulcers and pancreatitis.
Binge Eating Disorder
This disorder often results in many of the same health risks associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels and type II diabetes mellitus and gallbladder disease.
These disorders are often accompanied by co-occurring psychiatric or addictive disorders (sometimes referred to as a dual diagnosis). An assessment from a professional who specialises on the treatment on this kind of disorders is critical to determine and prevent the risk of complications from coexisting conditions.