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.

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  • 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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25 Comments

  1. SATISH Reply

    Facts About Anorexia

    Anorexia is characterized by an aversion to eating and fear of gaining weight.

    The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1% of women and adolescent girls have anorexia. The percentage of men and adolescent boys with anorexia is much lower, as males account for less than 10% of reported cases, but the incidence in males is increasing. In the U.S., more than 1,000 women die annually from anorexia.
    Medical Impact of Anorexia

    Because people with anorexia do not get the nutrition necessary for good health, they can damage almost every organ system or body part, including the brain, liver, kidneys, heart, GI tract, bones, teeth, skin and hair. Anorexia, if left untreated, can result in serious medical conditions, such as:

    * Low blood pressure
    * An abnormally slow heart rate
    * Reduced bone density, often resulting in osteoporosis
    * Muscle loss and weakness
    * Dehydration, sometimes leading to kidney failure
    * Dry and brittle hair and skin
    * Retarded growth

    At its worst, anorexia can lead to a person’s death.
    Signs of Anorexia

    Individuals with anorexia take extreme measures to avoid eating. They often become abnormally thin – and still talk about feeling fat or bloated. Because they have a distorted image of their body, they often will continue to diet, even when they are severely underweight. Signs of anorexia include:

    * An intense drive for thinness
    * Refusal to maintain a minimal normal weight
    * Fear of becoming fat
    * Distorted body image
    * Denying feelings of hunger
    * Avoiding situations where food is involved
    * Developing rituals around preparing food and eating
    * Obsession with dieting
    * Social withdrawal
    * Pronounced emotional changes, such as irritability, depression and anxiety

    In spite of dieting, people with anorexia are typically preoccupied with food, cooking, nutrition and the number of calories in each meal.

    Another sign of anorexia is the tendency to exercise obsessively – well beyond what is needed to maintain good health. Individuals with anorexia also weigh themselves frequently. They often restrict not only food, but relationships, social activities and pleasure.

    Physical signs of anorexia include thinning hair; dry, flaky skin, and cracked or broken nails. Woman with anorexia often stop menstruating.

    ————-
    SATISH

  2. quilesha Reply

    ewww y would you wanna be anorexia its gross your not fat you want attention because when you were a kid you didnt feel special so you thought it was your weight they didnt get people to notce you but if you had a problem you did get attention but you got it now for the wronge reasons

    1. Anonymous

      Hey there! I was going to have a go at you, but I won’t because the chances are you’re probably just ignorant. Anorexia is a mental illness, just like depression etc. It is not for attention. Most of the time, anorexics hide in baggy clothes so no one can see their body size, even if they’re underweight. If anything, they divert attention from themselves due to extremely low self esteem. Please gets your facts right :).

  3. arlyssa Reply

    does anorexia effect more women then males?
    can you treat anorexia?
    what causes most people to start anorexia???

  4. Neelab Whitney Reply

    why do anorexia people do that because that is stupid and it retarded???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    1. Destiny

      Check your grammar before you go calling people retarded…. They can’t help the way they are. Some do it for attention but others do it because of the mean comments people say to them or what they think of themselves.

  5. Rebecca Reply

    How can you be so heartless? Anorexia is a disease and it is a mental illnes. Many girls dont even know that they are suffering from it they are just convinced they are over weight. It’s not an attention seeking subject most of the time, girls are generally ill with this. Instead of moaning that it is an attention stunt, you should wake up and realise that girls as young as 9 have died from this and we can help by fundraising and support.

  6. sylvie Reply

    Forty percent of fourth and fifth grade children wish they were thinner or worry about getting fat (Smolak 2). One in ten anorexics will die from cardiac arrest, suicide, or starvation (Christiansen 1).

    Eating disorders have been around since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians and Greek fasted for short amounts of time, and the Egyptians and Palestinians in the fourth and fifth century C.E. fasted while dedicating themselves to Jesus Christ. Other ancient Christians practiced severe fasting as protest and rebellion against materialism. In medieval times, women fasted for religious piety and purity (Smolak 2), and in Renaissance times, they would fast while attempting to gain sainthood. One early case of anorexia was in 1613, described by Pedro Mexio of a ten year old French girl, Jane Balan. Mexio said the Balan “lived without receiving meat or drink for at least three years.”

    The first book on Anorexia Nervosa was published in 1873, by Charles Lasegue, titled L’anorexie Hysterique. In his book, he proposed that anorexia had three stages and occurred between the ages of 15-20. During the first stage, the person would be uncomfortable about eating, which progressed to an obsession during the second stage. The last stage was the family going for help. In Victorian times, it was thought that eating correlated their appetite for sex. It was thought of as unattractive to be seen eating or making food. Some women “boasted that the calls of Nature upon them averaged but one or two calls a week” (Hubbard 2).

    In 1865, Dunglison’s dictionary described anorexia as the “absence of appetite” (Christiansen 1). It was thought of as a brief fad in the 20th century, and not taken seriously until the death of the famous singer, Karen Carpenter, in 1983, at a mere 80 lbs. In 1984, Glamour magazine published a survey taken by 33,000 women ages 18-35. Seventy-five percent believed they were fat while only twenty-five were actually considered obese (History of Nervosa 5). Today, 95% of women are disgusted or disappointed with their bodies (Christiansen 2).

    A person is higher at risk for anorexia if they are dissatisfied with their body, have a history of dieting, low self-esteem, or is perfectionist. Being female, young, or in sports like gymnastics, ballet, running, wrestling, or figure skating have higher risk. Childhood sexual abuse and genetics also contribute, or a history of family obesity, and history of being bullied. In modern society, weight changes are highly criticized. Weight loss is coupled with praise, while weight gain is subject to negative comments.

    Key features of an anorexic person include the refusal to sustain a normal body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, a distorted view of body weight, or denials about the dangers of one’s body weight. Other symptoms include skipping meals, making excuses for not eating, eating only a few certain low fat and calorie foods, cooking elaborate meals while refusing to eat them, repeated weighing of selves, frequent checking in the mirror, complaining about being fat, and a refusal to eat in public.

    Twenty-five percent will never fully recover (Ehrlich 5). The American Journal of Human Genetics “found strong biological evidence of a genetic linkage on chromosome 1 for Anorexia Nervosa… these researchers also propose that there are neuropsychological deficits that preexist in all women who eventually fall victim to anorexia” (Kat 1). If one or both parents who diet, think looks are very important, or criticize the victim’s body are more likely to have a child with anorexia. If a girl has a sibling with anorexia, she is ten to twenty times more likely than the general population to develop anorexia herself (Smith 3).

    While people look up to models, models typically weigh twenty-three percent less than the average person (Christiansen 2). Anorexia is a long-term challenge that may last a lifetime (Ehrlich 2).

  7. Jean Reply

    What the need is encouragement, not negative feed back. Anorexia is not a disorder asked for, it just happens due to the media`s desperation for thin and slim women. Maybe if the world wasn`t so brain dead, there would be a lot of woman and young girls out there still a live.

  8. G Reply

    Why are people so ignorant? It’s not that people choose to be anorexic. No one would choose it. It’s a mental disorder. People aren’t like, “Yeah! I’m going to be anorexic today! Whoo!!!” People think I’m anorexic and it’s not all that great. I wouldn’t want to get attention that way.

  9. Kate Reply

    i have to do a project on this for school and i have realised so much since starting this. I used to think that anorexia is people who want to be skinny and look good but they become stupid and obsessive but it is so much more. People dont want to be anorexic they just want to look good infront of boys or whatever. I personally think that most boys want to be with skinny girls and this can drive people to anorexia. Once anorexic they dont see what we see. They see a fat person so i dont think it is fair that people are saying they are retards and stupid. They are the ones that are being stupid and ignorant!

  10. Bones Reply

    Are you guys really serious? You think anorexia is all about being skinny? That’s @@@@@@ hilarious. You have not even began to scratch the surface. Anorexia is about control.

  11. Fatty Reply

    Oh My Gosh!!!.. I’m Fat and I really dnt care what ppl have to say about me. If it’s something good and it’ll help me through out my life then I’ll hear you out. But if it’s something negative, keep it to yourself!!.

  12. liv Reply

    Y’all need to stop being mean to these people they don’t get a choice if they want it its a urge that they have a voice telling them to do it so please stop

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