Anorexia is an eating disorder where people starve themselves. Anorexia usually begins in young people around the onset of puberty. Individuals suffering from anorexia have extreme weight loss. Weight loss is usually 15% below the person's normal body weight. People suffering from anorexia are very skinny but are convinced that they are overweight. Weight loss is obtained by many ways. Some of the common techniques used are excessive exercise, intake of laxatives and not eating.
Anorexics have an intense fear of becoming fat. Their dieting habits develop from this fear. Anorexia mainly affects adolescent girls.
People with anorexia continue to think they are overweight even after they become extremely thin, are very ill or near death. Often they will develop strange eating habits such as refusing to eat in front of other people. Sometimes the individuals will prepare big meals for others while refusing to eat any of it.
The disorder is thought to be most common among people of higher socioeconomic classes and people involved in activities where thinness is especially looked upon, such as dancing, theater, and distance running.
A Family Member has an Eating Disorder
If you have a family member that with an Eating Disorder, they need a lot of support. Suggest that your family member see an eating disorder expert. Be prepared for denial, resistance, and even anger. A doctor and/or a counselor can help them battle their eating disorder.
Symptoms of Anorexia
There are many symptoms for anorexia, some individuals may not experience all of they symptoms. The symptoms include: Body weight that is inconsistent with age, build and height (usually 15% below normal weight).
Some other symptoms of anorexia are:
Loss of at least 3 consecutive menstrual periods (in women).
Not wanting or refusing to eat in public
* Brittle skin
* Shortness of breath
* Obsessiveness about calorie intake
Medical Consequences of anorexia
There are many medical risks associated with anorexia. They include: shrunken bones, mineral loss, low body temperature, irregular heartbeat, permanent failure of normal growth, development of osteoporosis and bulimia nervosa.
Continued use of laxatives is harmful to the body. It wears out the bowel muscle and causes it to decrease in function. Some laxatives contain harsh substances that may be reabsorbed into your system.
Anorexia and Pregnancy
In order to have a healthy child, the average pregnant woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds. Telling this to a person with anorexia is like telling a normal person to gain 100 pounds. If you are anorexic, you may have trouble conceiving a baby and carrying it to term. Irregular menstrual cycles and weak bones make it more difficult to conceive. If you are underweight and do not eat the proper variety of foods, you and your baby could be in danger.
Women with eating disorders have higher rates of miscarriages and your baby might be born prematurely which puts them at risk for many medical problems.
All pregnant women should receive proper prenatal care. Those recovering from anorexia or bulimia need special care. You should always take your prenatal vitamins and have regular prenatal visits. You should not exercise unless your doctor says it is okay and it is a good idea to enroll in a prenatal exercise class to be sure you are not overexerting yourself.