Can Eating Disorder Kills?

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Can an Eating Disorder Kill?

Can eating disorders kill? This is a common question that is often on the mind of those who not only suffer from conditions such as anorexia or bulimia but for loved ones of those who are suffering from eating disorders. Sadly the answer to this question is yes, eating disorders can and do kill every year. The sad fact of the matter is that many people with eating disorders are suffering in silence and if they don’t receive the proper help, support and treatment soon find themselves on a slippery slope.

Can Eating Disorders Kill? How Eating Disorders Lead to Death

Those suffering from eating disorders may not be aware of just how dangerous their condition is; their obsession with food and/or dieting may have become so extreme they do not care anymore. Many of those suffering from eating disorders get to a point where they will become so desperate to lose weight or so obsessed with food to make them feel “better” they will give little thought to the harm they are causing their bodies. The truth of the matter is there are many ways eating disorders can contribute to death.

  • One of the leading factors of how eating disorders can kill is dehydration. When the body is lacking in the requisite amount of fluids, carbohydrates and calories it needs it will become dehydrated. If dehydration is caught early on it can be treated by simply taking in the proper amount of nutrients and fluids however if left untreated it will turn into a serious problem very quickly. Dehydration may begin with symptoms such as dizziness but lead to more serious side effects such as kidney failure or heart attack.
  • Anorexics also run the risk of suffering from heart failure and kidney failure as they continue to starve themselves and put their bodies under the strain of malnutrition.
  • Bulimics who binge and purge by vomiting are at risk of cancer of the throat and esophagus. As bulimics binge and purge by vomiting they can cause serious damage to organs and tissues over the years.
  • Binge eaters often develop extremely high blood pressure which may bring about heart attack or stroke. Another health issue associated with binge eating or compulsive eating is the risk of developing diabetes.
  • One common contributing factor to all eating disorders that can prove to be fatal if left untreated is depression.


Can eating disorders kill? Statistics sadly say “yes”. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders up to 10% of anorexics will die within the first ten years of developing the disease. And for those suffering with eating disorders who do not receive treatment the mortality figure is put at 20%.