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Exploring the Health Risks of Anorexia

written by: Erin281982 • edited by: jen2008 • updated: 11/16/2010

A look at some of the health risks of anorexia. These include both short term and long term health risks that result from one suffering from anorexia. Some examples include short term risks such as constipation and long term risks such as osteoporosis.

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    Exploring the Health Risks of Anorexia

    Many people dealing with anorexia on a day to day basis are not fully aware of all the health risks that may occur from this disease. In exploring the health risks of anorexia we find that there are not only many short term risks but there are several long term risks including death if one does not seek help.

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    Exploring the Health Risks of Anorexia: Short Term Risks

    When we starve our bodies and do not consume enough food we are also starving our bodies of the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function on a daily basis. Some of the short term risks anorexics may face include changes to their physical appearance. Thin, very brittle hair is one of the more common short term health risks of anorexia. Hair will start to fall out or break very easily as one tries to comb or brush it. While they may lose hair on their head some anorexics may start to grow hair in unusual places such as in patches on their backs. This abnormal hair growth is called lanugo. It is the body's way of trying to stay warm in cases where starvation occurs. Nails will also become very brittle and break easily. The skin may also suffer becoming extremely dry or causing breakouts.

    Other short term health risks that anorexics may face also include constipation and bloating. As the body is starved constipation is caused due to the gastrointestinal mobility slowing down. Another short term health risk that poses a real danger to becoming a long term health risk from anorexia is dehydration. Some of the effects of dehydration may include feeling dizzy and tired all the time.

    Bouts of insomnia may also occur from one starving themselves as well as mood swings and short episodes of depression which may lead to long term episodes.

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    Exploring the Health Risks of Anorexia: Long Term Risks

    In exploring the health risks of anorexia we find that there are sadly many long term risks that in some cases may even prove to be fatal.

    One of the more common long term risks from anorexia is cardiac disease. In these cases the anorexic will experience bradycardia where the heart beats at a slower pace than normal. While a somewhat slower pace does not prove to be too dangerous in anorexics it can get too slow. In some cases anorexic may also find their heart muscles are actually shrinking in size as they too, are starved.

    Nerve damage is another long term risk that anorexics may face. This nerve damage occurs due to the anorexic being deficient in vitamins and nutrients that the body needs to function correctly.

    Osteoporosis is also a risk that may occur. Osteoporosis occurs when one does not get enough calcium or Vitamin D. Their bones will become weak and break very easily.

    Liver failure is another problem anorexics may face. One cause for liver failure in anorexics is when women have loss of menstruation which causes too much iron to be in their system.

    Depression is also another long term emotional risk that anorexics face. While many anorexics claim to have been suffering from depression before they actually started starving themselves others who were not may suffer from it due to hormonal imbalances or vitamin deficiencies. The depression can be long lasting with many saying they suffer from it off and on for the rest of their lives.

    Sadly anorexia can also lead to death if it is not dealt with and one does not get help. Some examples of why death might occur include kidney failure or severe heart problems as mentioned above. Some anorexics may also become so depressed they may commit suicide. With so many long and short term health risks it is important that anorexics seek out help and try to overcome this disease.