Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that affects many women and a few men, some of whom go undiagnosed for years. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the odds of recovery by a large percentage. Sometimes knowing the facts about anorexia will help family, friends and providers to recognize the signs and symptoms.
- Anorexia nervosa appears more in the Caucasian and Hispanic female as opposed to the Black or Asian female.
- Anorexia nervosa is more prevalent in the age group of the 15-year-old to 23-year-old female although a younger age group is appearing at an alarming rate.
- Excessive dieting and exercising can be seen in the anorexic leading to an extreme thinness in the body.
- On the average it is estimated that 1% of females in their teens and early 20s develops this eating disorder.
- Studies have shown that 10% to 15% will die of complications arising from anorexia nervosa.
- Peer pressure and an ever-increasing emphasis of today’s model society seem to play a very real part in the development of anorexia nervosa.
- Anorexics have a slower and sometimes abnormal heart rate, low body temperature, electrolyte imbalances, and lower blood pressure.
- A sufferer will sometimes have a soft downy hair growth on their arms and other body parts, which develops from lack of essential vitamins and minerals lacking in the diet.
- An anorexic patient will weigh 15% or more under the norm for their height and weight.
- Women with anorexia nervosa will have lack of or an abnormal menstrual flow.
- Because typically seen in the female the male anorexic is often misdiagnosed.
- People with anorexia will severely limit their dietary intake even though wanting to eat and being very hungry out of fear of becoming fat.
- People suffering from anorexia, even when dramatically thin, will see a distorted image when looking in the mirror and will see a very heavy person.
- A person afflicted with anorexia nervosa has erosion of the tooth’s enamel and an increased incidence of cavities.
- People with anorexia can sometimes develop kidney infections and kidney failure.
- Studies have shown that genetics may or may not be attributed to the development of anorexia nervosa. Researchers theorize that a genetic component will make a woman or man more prone to using this method of controlling a stressful environment or answer the need for perfectionism.
- After a very small meal an anorexic will feel bloated due to extreme shrinkage of their stomach.
- Studies have shown that 50% of all anorexics will suffer from bone thinning or otherwise known as osteoporosis.
- A person with anorexia nervosa will often shield themselves from the outside and will avoid social gatherings due to fear of being in an “eating” situation.
- An individual suffering from anorexia nervosa will often have intolerance to cold temperatures due to low body weight.
- In the younger person with anorexia nervosa growth may be slowed and cause short stature.
- In severe cases of anorexia nervosa hospitalization may be required.
- In some cases of anorexia nervosa medication may be needed to treat underlying depression or an obsessive-compulsive disorder which thereby complicates this psychiatric illness.
- Proper medical treatment involving physicians, psychiatric professionals, family and friends play an important role in the success of the person who is diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.
- It is estimated that only 4 out of every 10 person afflicted with anorexia nervosa will make a full recovery.
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