6 Life-Threatening Effects Of Anorexia Nervosa You Should Know About

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder which compels people to compulsively eat less for the sake of losing weight. People affected by this condition live in a constant state of fear of gaining weight. This fear drives them to eat lesser and lesser for losing more weight. This fear stimulates them to skip meals, exercise more than necessary and eat even lesser.

There are many factors that can cause or aggravate this condition. The surroundings of an individual have a huge role to play in this. Our society puts enough pressure on women to always look good. A person surrounded by elements that echo the same depraved mentality, is more likely to feel that pressure more intensely. Some people with psychological tendencies like obsessive compulsive disorder are more prone to develop anorexia nervosa. There are no hardcore proofs about genetic predisposition for this condition, but some scientists have found a link between decreased serotonin and anorexia nervosa.

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This condition can occur due to various reasons, but its repercussions are all the same. There are many life-threatening consequences of this debilitating condition. Some of those consequences are listed below.

1. Anemia

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Anemia is the first medical repercussion of an individual’s body with anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa can lead to losing weight through unhealthy means like skipping meals. This can make normal healthy bodies deficient of required nourishment. Hence, anemia becomes the definite result of these habits. Anemia is characterized by the lack of healthy and required numbers of red blood cells. This means that oxygen is not reaching all the cells across the body.

2. Chronic Constipation

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Constipation is a condition in which people generally pass stool less than 3 times a week. Their stool would be dry and hard. Constipation can occur due to many reasons, but most commonly it happens due to the lack of fiber in the diets of the constipated people. Since, anorexic people consume very less food, it is very likely for their bodies to be deficient in dietary fiber which can lead to constipation.

3. Osteoporosis

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Osteoporosis is a disease that affects many, but mostly menopausal women. This is characterized by the diminished density of the bones, which leads to weak and fragile bones. This happens when our bodies don’t have enough required nutrients like calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D. These nutrients are important in maintaining healthy and strong bones. But, anorexia nervosa can deprive our bodies of all these nutrients and can cause osteoporosis in the long run.

4. Dysfunction Of Cognitive Abilities

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Our brains use up around 20% of our total daily calories for carrying out our cognitive functioning. But, anorexia nervosa deprives our bodies from the calories required for their healthy functioning. This means our brains stop getting their food as well. This leads to improper and slow functioning of our brains. And, due to lack of glucose in the blood, forgetfulness becomes prevalent for people with anorexia nervosa.

5. Abnormal Heartbeat

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Abnormal heartbeats are generally associated with many heart conditions. Our hearts generally tend to work harder if our bodies need more energy. Anorexic individuals would always be running low on the energy due to the lack of food intake. Hence, their hearts need to work even more harder to compensate. Also, potassium deficiency can lead to irregular heartbeats. Anorexia nervosa can also cause mitral valve prolapse in some cases.

6. Increased Risk Of Heart Failure

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It has been established earlier that anorexia nervosa can lead to anemia and heart conditions like irregular heartbeats and mitral valve prolapse. And, in the case of severe anemia due to the prolonged existence of anorexia nervosa, heart failure becomes a real possibility. The heart is likely to collapse if it has to push itself beyond its limits to sustain the body.

If you notice that you seem to be developing an aversion towards eating and are in a constant state of fear of gaining weight, then seek help immediately. Nip the problem in the bud to avoid dire consequences.