Physical Effects of Anorexia: What Your Body Is Going Through

Anorexia is a mental and emotional condition, but it can have devastating effects on the body. Health care professionals estimate that only about one-third of people with anorexia will ever recover; another third will struggle with the condition for their whole lives, and another third will die of the disease. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all psychological disorders.

Here are some effects that anorexia nervosa will have on your physical body.

Appearance

It's sad that some people still think that eating disorders are about the pressure to obtain unrealistic standards of beauty. Unfortunately, anorexia does not look good. Extreme weight loss makes your overall appearance gaunt, sharp, and unhealthy. If you're young, it could stunt your growth. Because dehydration is a problem, the skin becomes dry, scaly, pale, and may take on a yellowish hue. People suffering from anorexia often experience hair loss, brittle nails, and tooth decay.

Brain

A large portion of the fuel your body gets goes to the brain. When you are malnourished due to anorexia, you may struggle with concentration and memory. Your thinking becomes clouded. In some extreme cases, people may suffer from seizures.

Bones and Blood

Lack of nutrients contributes to bone loss, which may result in a higher risk of fractures. In time, this could lead to a full-blown case of osteoporosis.

Anorexia may result in a lower blood cell count, which can impact your immune system. It also reduces your lower red blood cell count, which can lead to other potentially serious conditions like anemia. Because your body is feeding on itself by breaking down your tissue, your blood could experience a rise in ketone bodies. This causes your blood to become more acidic.

Organs

Every vital organ in your body is at risk when you are undernourished. Complications can arise in your liver, kidneys, lungs, or heart. Any of these conditions can be life-threatening.

Other Systems

When a woman is anorexic, she may begin to experience erratic periods. Hormones are thrown out of balance, affecting the reproductive system.

The digestive system will also suffer, and you may experience bouts of constipation. Your entire metabolism is thrown out of whack, so many hormonal issues can arise, such as hypothyroidism or low estrogen levels.

There is no good news except when recovery is involved. Talk to your health care provider to get the help you need to help you overcome your eating disorder before it's too late.

Sources: Health Grades, Spoon University, Emily Program

Photo: Pixabay

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