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Researchers 'Astonished' by Anorexia Death Rates

Posted Feb 10 2009 11:04am
Researchers followed a cohort of 6000 patients with anorexia:
Out of the cohort studied, 265 died during the 30-year follow-up. The most frequent causes of death were suicide (responsible for 32 percent of the deaths), anorexia (19 percent of the deaths), and cancer (11 percent of the deaths). The remaining 38 percent of deaths were caused by other illnesses or by homicide. The average age at death for the 265 anorexia patients who died was 34.

The researchers also compared findings for their anorexia patients during the 30-year follow-up period with those of the general Swedish population. For example, compared with the general population during this time, anorexia subjects were 19 times more likely to have died from psychoactive substance use, primarily alcohol use, 14 times more likely to have died from suicide; 12 times more likely to have died from respiratory diseases, 11 times more likely to have died from urogenital diseases, five times more likely to have died from gastrointestinal diseases, and two times more likely to have died from either cardiovascular disease or from cancer.

Altogether, anorexia patients were six times more likely to have died during the 30-year follow-up period than was the general population.
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