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What are the problems caused by anorexia?

Tuesday, 09 June 2009

Written by : DoctorNDTV Team

Eating disorders can result in serious health problems. The most serious health risk from anorexia is death, either because of severe weight loss or by suicide. Other problems include:

Heart disease. Anorexia can cause irregular heart rhythms and result in smaller heart muscles. Heart disease is a common cause of death for people with anorexia.
Hormonal changes. Changes in reproductive hormones and in thyroid hormones can cause absence of menstruation (amenorrhoea), infertility, bone loss and retarded growth.
Imbalance of minerals and electrolytes. The body needs adequate levels of minerals, particularly calcium and potassium, in order to maintain the electric currents that keep the heart beating. Disruption of the body's levels of fluids and minerals creates an electrolyte imbalance. Unless restored, this imbalance can be life-threatening.
Nerve damage. Anorexia may cause brain and nerve damage, seizures and loss of feeling.
Blood disorders. Lack of nutrition can reduce the body's levels of vitamin B-12, causing anaemiaand affecting the body's ability to produce enough red blood cells.
Digestive problems. Anorexia can cause constipationand bloating.

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