The Dangers of Bulimia Explained

There are a lot of myths about bulimia circulating, and probably the most dangerous one is that a mild case of bulimia isn't going to cause serious health issues. The truth is, you don't have to be wholly emaciated for this eating disorder to do extreme, permanent damage to your body, or for it to be fatal. Every time you attempt to binge and purge, or binge and try to compensate for those calories by fasting or exercise binges, you are playing a game of Russian roulette.

Ruptures

During episodes of uncontrollable binging, a person can occasionally stuff himself so much that it may cause the internal rupture of arteries or organs in the gastrointestinal tract. This condition is extremely painful, may require emergency surgery, can cause sepsis (sometimes referred to as "blood poisoning"), or may result in death.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Your body requires a host of balanced nutrients to keep it functioning. When you binge and then use laxatives, induce vomiting, exercise excessively, or attempt to fast, you are throwing that balance out of whack. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to vital organ damage.

Once again, it is a myth that a mild case of bulimia may help a person avoid such an extreme result. If other underlying genetic or health issues make it difficult for an individual to metabolize certain nutrients, bulimia can quickly exacerbate the problem.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Many people don't understand what electrolytes are, so they don't realize just how deadly an electrolyte imbalance can be. Electrolytes are ions (charged salts) that regulate your body's hydration. They also play an essential role in helping nerves and muscles to function, and help control your body's pH level.

When you get dehydrated, your electrolytes can get thrown out of balance. This can make your muscles get weaker and may result in painful involuntary contractions. If you've ever suffered from a muscle cramp from strenuous physical activity, then you have felt this imbalance in action.

Guess what else is a muscle? Your heart. Your lungs also need muscles to work.

Think about that for a minute. Purging, fasting, and profuse sweating cause dehydration, and every time you engage in these activities, you are risking an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte imbalance puts you at risk for cardiac and respiratory arrest.

Mild Bulimia Doesn't Eliminate Risk

Health professionals do classify cases of bulimia from mild to severe, but that classification has to do with treatment recommendations. Having a mild case doesn't mean you are only risking mild complications; it's still Russian roulette. A severe case is akin to having more bullets in the chamber than a mild case. Remember, though—your luck only has to fail once for it to be game over.

Sources: Mirror Mirror, Eating Disorder Resource Catalogue

Photo: Pixabay

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