When it comes to dieting, many of us are at fault for going about it the wrong way. Unfortunately, many women - and men - are so consumed with trimming their waistline, they succumb to anorexia.
Anorexia is a condition in which a patient believes they are fat and deprives themselves of food; they may also exercise excessively.
While we know anorexia is harmful to one both physically and mentally, a new study now shows that a patient with anorexia has a five times greater chance of dying than someone without the eating disorder; in fact, one out of five deaths among anorexics were caused by suicide, while the rest were attributed to the effects the disorder had on the body over time - which can include heart disease or irregularities, dehydration and starvation, and anemia. People who suffer from bulimia or another non-specified eating disorder also are about twice as likely to die as people without those disorders, according to the study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. These diseases are known to be particularly dangerous for teenagers. The death rates for eating disorders, especially anorexia, are higher than those for schizophrenia and depression.
There are 10 warning signs of anorexia nervosa, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), Inc.:
- Deliberate self-starvation with weight loss
- Intense, persistent fear of gaining weight
- Refusal to eat or highly restrictive eating
- Continuous dieting
- Excessive facial/body hair because of inadequate protein in the diet
- Compulsive exercise
- Abnormal weight loss
- Sensitivity to cold
- Absent or irregular menstruation
- Hair loss
If you think a loved one is suffering from anorexia nervosa or a related eating disorder, there are many groups like ANAD and The National Eating Disorders Association waiting to help. The ANAD help line is 630-577-1330. Click here for more on this report and advice from an expert.
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- Dr. Pamela Peeke: Steer Clear of Weight-Loss Drugs
- Top 5 Tips for Forever Health with Ms. Fitness Greta Blackburn