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Health Problems Caused By Eating Disorders

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Eating disorder statistics among teenagers and young women in the United States are staggering! According to U.S. News, nearly 10 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. More staggering is the fact that this potentially life-threatening disease is one of the primary killers of young women in the U.S. today.

The Most Common Types of Eating Disorders

Defined by deficient or excessive food intake to the point of damaging an individual’s physical and mental health; eating disorders, typically generated by misconceptions of one’s body image, seem to be the norm among young women and teenagers. 50 to 60 percent of teenage girls perceive themselves as overweight, yet only 15 to 20 percent of them truly are.

The most common types of eating disorders are:

Anorexia Nervosa. A psychological disorder typified by life-threatening food restrictions causing excessive weight loss. 1 out of every 200 young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa. An emotional disorder typified with stints of extreme overeating. This is usually followed with depression and self-induced purging. 1 out of every 50 young women are diagnosed with this disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder. Characterized by consuming an excessive amount of food at one sitting (more than normal) at a quick pace. Young women suffering from BED feel they have no control, cannot stop eating, and do so until they are nauseated. BED affects 10% to 50% of college aged females. Binge Eating Disorder is found in 30% of individuals pursuing weight loss management.

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified. ENDOS is characterized by symptoms that do not correspond with the symptoms of other eating disorders. Young women with ENDOS may exhibit Anorexic behaviors but are of a normal weight. They may exhibit symptoms of Bulimia yet purging is more intermittent.

Health Risks Associated with Eating Disorders

Young women suffering from an eating disorder can cause great harm to themselves psychologically and physically.  They put themselves in grave danger which can lead to premature death caused by natural or unnatural causes. A barrage of health issues can arise due to eating disorders.

  • An abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle loss and weakness
  • Kidney failure
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Rupture of the esophagus
  • Pancreatitis and peptic ulcers
  • Type II diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Obesity
  • Dehydration
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Electrolyte Imbalance
  • Infertility

Treating Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are not to be considered a teenage phase; young women battling an eating disorder must seek immediate professional help. Early detection and treatment increases the probability of a successful recovery.

All types of eating disorders are treatable and recovery is possible. A personalized psychotherapy or psychological counseling plan is the most effective treatment to ensure long-lasting recovery. During treatment, it is essential to closely monitor medical and nutritional needs as well.

Treatment for eating disorders should be provided by medical professionals and experts with respect to teens and young women struggling with any type or degree of eating disorder.

Published: September 2013 Healthy Family Matters

Client: Evaero

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