As the body is starved, the muscles are starved. The heart is a muscle, and consequently can begin to deteriorate, and heart failure becomes a very real risk. Low levels of sodium, zinc, potassium and calcium, can also cause abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmia.
Kidney failure is also caused by dehydration because inadequate fluid flowing to the kidneys can lead to cardiac arrhythmia. A normal heartbeat is also essential to the human body. A change in the normal pattern of the heartbeat may be a complication of an electrolyte imbalance produced from anorexia. The principal reason for potassium loss and an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia is an electrolyte imbalance.
Sudden death due to abnormal heart rhythms caused by electrolyte and mineral disturbances may occur. Both bulima and anorexia nervosa can cause arrhythmia and result in smaller heart muscles. Heart disease is a common cause of death for people with anorexia.