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The Effects Of Anorexia

Posted May 06 2008 7:02pm

The term anorexia is Greek which means “lack of appetite.” Anorexia is an eating disorder determined by low body weight and body image distortion. It is an obsessive fear of gaining weight. People with this disorder often control their body weight by starving and purging themselsves. Anorexia also includes excessive exercise, or taking diet pills or any kind of drug to help you lose weight. Anorexia primarily affects young females, however 10% of men also struggle with this disorder. Anorexia involves mainly psychological components.

The most common way for diagnosing anorexia is by a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. The diagnosis is based upon the behavior, physical appearance of the person and the reported beliefs. The most commonly used criteria for diagnosing anorexia are from the Amerian Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statiscal Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) and the World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). To be diagnosed a person must display:

  1. Refusal to maintain body weight at their minimal normal weight for age and height or failure to gain weight during a certain amount of time.
  2. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming obese.
  3. Distrubance in the way in which their body’s weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of their low body weight.
  4. In post-menarcheal, pre-menopausal females (women who have had their first menstrual period but have not yet gone through menopause), amenorrhea (the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles).
  5. Or other eating related disorders, such as bulimia.

There are two different subtypes of anorexia, Restricing type and Binge-eating type. Restricting type is the person who doesn’t regularly engage in binge-eating or purging behavior, on the other hand, Binge-eating type or purging type is the person that does refularly engage in binge-eating or purging behavior. These people might induce weight-loss or maintain a low body weight by avoiding fatty foods, self-induced vomiting, self-induced purging, excessive exercise, or excessive use of appetite suppressants.

Anorexia can put a serious strain on many of the body’s organs, specifically on the structure and function of the heart and the cardiovascular system. Anorexia can cause heart failure, and linked to osteoporosis which effects people by 38-50% of cases. This leads to poor nutrition which leads to the distortion of essential bone structure and low bone mineral density. Anorexia doesn’t always affect everyone in the same way, for instance, evidence shows that the results from anorexia differ from adolescents and adults. In some cases it may cause a stunt in growth if you are diagnosed as an adolescent. Also, changes in the brain structure and the function are early symptoms of the disease. Enlagement of the brain is often associated with starvation and is partially reversed when the patient returns to a healthy weight. The disease can also cause a reduction of blood flow in the temporal lobes.

So, if you or anyone else you know is fighting with anorexia, contact someone who can help you get over the disease and get back to a healthy state.

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