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What Happens to the Body in Severe Anorexia Cases


Did you know that up to 24 million people of all ages suffer from an eating disorder?

Anorexia, one of the three most common eating disorders, occurs when people essentially starve themselves to death because they see themselves as overweight when in fact they are extremely underweight.

If left untreated, anorexia can cause severe long-term complications and even death. In fact, people with anorexia are 18 times more likely to die earlier than people of similar age, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Signs of Anorexia

People that suffer from anorexia are very skinny and emaciated looking. Despite this extreme thinness, people still pursue loosing more weight and typically are unwilling to maintain a healthy weight. Some anorexics may engage in extreme dieting, binge eating followed by purging and excessive exercise to maintain their low weight. Others may abuse or misuse laxatives, enemas or diuretic medications.

Damage to the Body

Besides the increase risk of death, anorexia can cause severe damage to the body, including:

• Bones: Can become thin and break (osteoporosis)
• Hair/Nails: Can be come brittle and break easily
• Skin: Can become yellowish and very dry
• Muscle Damage: Muscles throughout body can become weak and begin to waste away wasting
• Heart Issues: Low blood pressure and pulse can develop along with cardiovascular complications such as heart attack
• Failure of Multiple Organs: Including heart, kidneys and brain
• Infertility: Unable to become pregnant , which results from lack of menstruation that also occurs
• Lanugo: Growth of fine hair all over the body

Source: National Institute of Mental Health