What Causes The Body To Go Into A Hypometabolic State?

Your metabolism is the many different chemical reactions that your body undergoes to sustain your life. One of the main functions of the metabolism is to convert food into energy.

When the body doesn't get enough food, this can throw the metabolism out of whack. This is why eating disorders are such serious conditions—a lack of nutrients has the effects of a big rock thrown into a still pond. The ripples spread out and touch everything.

When your body doesn't get enough nutrients, it may go into a hypometabolic state. Here is what's happening to your body.

Metabolic Slowdown

When you're eating a proper diet, your metabolism breaks down the food you eat and converts it into energy. Some of this energy gets used right away to fuel your body, and some of it gets stored for later use. This is what keeps you going. It keeps all of your organs functioning and systems running.

When the body is deprived of food, it still needs energy. The metabolism has to shift to make up for lack of incoming nutrients. It shifts into a hypometabolic state.

In this state, your metabolism tries to slow down and conserve the energy that it already has, and reroutes that energy to the most vital organs and functions. Eventually, when it runs out of its stored energy, the body begins to cannibalize itself—it starts breaking down its own muscles and tissue to convert them into energy.

Symptoms of Hypometabolic State

A person in this state may feel fatigued, weak, unusually cold, excessive sweat, heart palpitations, confusion, trouble concentrating, or may experience insomnia. If a woman remains in this state for an extended period of time, she'll stop menstruating and struggle with fertility issues.

People in a hypometabolic state will lose weight, but it usually won't be a healthy weight loss. It will often be sudden and put a person at risk for dehydration.

Dangers of Hypometabolic State

Once your body is in a hypometabolic state, the strain puts you at risk for organ damage. This damage can be irreversible, and eventually, may prove fatal. While all of the organs are at risk, the heart is most commonly the cause of death. As the metabolism slows, the heart becomes rigid and less effective in pumping blood.

Seek Help

Once you're experiencing symptoms, you are already in trouble. Even eating again can have health consequences, as the body's sudden shift out of this state may cause further imbalances, which is part of what makes this state so dangerous.

If you've induced a hypometabolic state by starving yourself, it's essential to seek medical attention.

Sources: Whole Health Chicago

Photo: Pixabay

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