eating disorder complications and issues

Eating disorders have been a problem for society occurring even during the overindulgent Ancient Roman times, and have been unidentified and little understood until the last twenty years. How prevalent are these disorders today? It is estimated in Alberta alone, 1 in every 100 members of the female population suffer from some form of eating disorder, with at least one percent of these suffer from anorexia nervosa and three percent from bulimia nervosa. According to these statistics, 9,500 women are anorexic and 25,000 are bulimic. There are also an increasing number of men who suffer from eating disorders, but are not included in these figures. Unfortunately, eating disorders can become so severe that hospitalization is required for treatment and in some severe cases death may result. While the death rate for bulimics is low, the death rate for anorexics is higher and is estimated to range between 1 in 5 and 1 in 100.

Eating orders are characterized by an intense preoccupation with food and are accompanied by the irrational fear of getting fat. While this may be true, the behaviours of those with eating disorders vary greatly depending on their personality type, their obsession with weight issues, and their odd habits that surround the preparing and the eating of food.

eating disorder complications

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the most familiar of the eating disorders, but binge eating disorder is sometimes also included. While these three have similar underlying causes, the behaviours of the victims are different. Specifically, anorexia is characterized by dramatic weight loss caused by continuous self-starvation, and in most cases accompanied by intense exercise. Bulimia, on the other hand, is identified by its bingeing followed by purging, either by vomiting, or by the use of laxatives, emetics, diuretics or diet pills. The result is frequent weight fluctuations rather than profound weight loss. Interestingly, with bulimia, the body proportions can vary from profound underweight, to normal, to profound overweight. Binge eating disorder, sometimes called compulsive eating disorder has similar symptoms to bulimia, but without the purging. These victims are usually rather overweight, and sometimes morbidly so, resulting in the development of a number of serious health problems.

All forms of eating disorders can be life threatening, therefore, it is vital to get immediate intervention for the sufferer when the behaviour is first detected. It would be advisable to consult the family doctor so that a thorough examination and lab work-up may be completed and referral made for counselling and follow-up.

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