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Dangers of Binge Eating Disorders - A Look at Blood Vessel Damage

written by: Suzanne Florin • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/10/2011

A person suffering from binge eating disorder (BED) frequently and regularly consumes large amounts of food. This unhealthy eating pattern poses serious health hazards, particularly to the blood vessels. Read on to find out more about the danger of blood vessel changes in binge eating disorder.

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    Blood Vessel Changes in Binge Eating Disorder: Introduction

    Binge eating disorder, also known as compulsive overeating, is an eating disorder in which a person tends to consume large amounts of food on a regular basis. Emotions play a certain role in this type of eating disorder. A person usually binges for food when feeling sad, angry, or stressed. However, after episodes of binge eating, feelings of guilt and shame tend to occupy a person's mind.

    This unhealthy consumption of food not only creates psychological problems. Bingeing on large amounts of food that are usually high in fats and cholesterol can cause serious health problems such as blood vessel damage. Poor diet and nutritional deficiency are some of the factors that cause high blood pressure. An increased blood pressure scars the artery walls, and eventually damages them. Learn more about blood vessel changes in binge eating disorder, as highlighted in this article.

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    Blood Vessel Damage and Binge Eating Disorder

    The blood vessels are responsible for carrying blood to and from the heart and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells. There are three main types of blood vessels - the arteries, capillaries, and the veins. The arteries are the largest blood vessels, and they carry blood away from the heart. A dilation and constriction of the arteries can alter the blood pressure output. The capillaries serve as a connector between the arteries and the veins. They allow gas, nutrients, and waste exchange between the tissue spaces. The veins carry blood back to the heart, and they also transport wastes from the tissues to the liver.

    Blood vessel damage is likely to happen to those who suffer from binge eating disorder because of their poor diet. An unhealthy consumption of foods that are high in cholesterol and fats can cause serious health problems such as hardening of the arteries. A normal artery appears to be soft and pliable, but deposits of fat in the artery walls cause it to have yellow fatty streaks. These streaks do not produce any symptoms, but they are the earliest signs of arterial disease. As the production of fatty streaks progress, they develop into atherosclerotic plaques. These plaques cause the thickening of the artery walls, and they eventually impede blood flow through the artery.

    Hardening of the arteries can result in swelling or dilation, forming aneurysms. Aneurysms can rupture and bleed, or accumulate large amounts of blood to form a clot that could flow downstream and block a smaller blood vessel. Aside from aneurysms, hardening of the arteries can cause the artery walls to narrow and block off completely. If the arteries to the legs are blocked, this may cause pain and walking impairment. A block in the arteries to the brain can cause stroke; and if the arteries to the heart are affected, this can result in a heart attack.

    People suffering from binge eating disorder who have high blood sugar levels can suffer from blood vessel damage in the eye. Diabetic retinopathy, or retinal blood vessel damage, is a disorder that affects normal vision. Diabetes affects the blood vessels in the retina, and eventually causes them to become clogged or blocked. The inability of retinal blood vessels to transport enough nutrients to its light-sensitive cells can lead to vision loss.