What is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa, also known as anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder. This disease makes you obsess about your weight and food. If you have this problem, your body image may be distorted. You may think you are fat even if your weight is very low.
When you have anorexia, you may use unusual eating habits to cope with stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Restricting food may give you a sense of control over your life.
This problem affects more women than men. It usually begins in adolescence. Since 1930, the number of young women aged 15 to 19 suffering from anorexia nervosa has increased every 10 years.
What is the cause of anorexia nervosa?
Experts don't know what causes anorexia. It usually starts with regular dieting. Over time, it can lead to extreme and unhealthy weight loss. Fear of gaining weight may lead you to resort to extreme dieting and food restriction techniques.
There are two subtypes of anorexia:
- Restrictor type. People with this form of anorexia severely limit the amount of food they eat. This usually includes foods rich in carbohydrates and fats.
- Types of bulimia (binge eating and binge eating). People with bulimia eat so much food that they vomit. They may take large amounts of laxatives or other methods to clear their bowels.
What are the risk factors for anorexia nervosa?
People with anorexia are more likely to come from families with a history of certain health problems. These include weight problems, physical illness and mental health issues. Mental health problems may include depression and substance abuse disorders.
Other factors that may lead to anorexia include:
- social attitudes
- family influence
- Brain chemical imbalance
- developmental problems
You may also be at risk if you participate in certain sports and activities that focus on body shape and size. These include:
- figure skating
What are the symptoms of anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia can cause a variety of symptoms. They may be food or weight related. They may be physical or emotional.
Food or weight-related symptoms may include:
- body image changes
- low body weight
- Extremely afraid of getting fat
- excessive physical activity
- deny hunger
- Fixed with food preparation
- unusual eating behavior
Physical symptoms may include:
- poor nutritional status
- Very thin
- stomach pain or bloating
- drowsiness or fatigue
- Unable to cope with cold temperatures
- Fine, soft body hair (called lanugo)
- Dry or yellow skin
- thinning hair
- Nails become brittle
Mood symptoms may include:
- Withdraw from social situations
- loss of interest in sex
- mood changes
How is anorexia nervosa diagnosed?
When you have anorexia, you may try to hide your problem from others. Over time, family members, teachers, and coaches may begin to worry about your weight and behavior. Early treatment can help prevent serious health problems. Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history. He or she will perform a physical examination on you. Your healthcare provider may recommend psychological testing. Talking to family members and other concerned adults can also help.
How is anorexia nervosa treated?
Treatment for anorexia may depend on your age, overall health, medical history, symptoms and other factors. Physical problems may require emergency medical attention. Nutritional counseling can help you learn how to make healthy food choices. It can also help you regain a healthy weight.
Therapy can help you learn how to deal with your emotions. It can also help you improve your coping skills and develop healthy habits. Therapy can be done one-on-one with a family member or in a group setting. Some medications can also help treat mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
What are the complications of anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia is very harmful to the body and can lead to serious problems such as:
- Heart problems (irregular heartbeat, slow heartbeat, heart failure, and mitral valve prolapse)
- kidney problems
- electrolyte imbalance
- Irregular menstruation in women
- Low testosterone levels in men
- bone loss
Can anorexia nervosa be prevented?
Experts don't know how to prevent anorexia nervosa. It may help if family members have healthy attitudes and behaviors around weight, food, exercise and appearance. There are many ways adults can help children and adolescents build self-esteem. This includes academics, hobbies, and volunteer work. Focus on activities that have nothing to do with one's appearance.
having anorexia nervosa
If you have anorexia, talk to your healthcare provider. You can recover from anorexia and regain your health. To do this, you need to follow a complete treatment plan. You don't need to weigh yourself all the time during recovery. You also need to not spend a lot of time alone. It's also important to learn and avoid the things that lead to anorexic behavior. Dietary supplements will help ensure you are getting enough nutrients. Relaxation methods such as yoga may also help relieve symptoms.
Key points of anorexia nervosa
- Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes a severe fear of gaining weight. Even if you're dangerously thin, you may change your mind about obesity.
- You can control your weight by exercising vigorously, restricting calories and food, or overeating. It may give you a sense of control over your life.
- This problem is dangerous because it can cause organ damage and can even be fatal.
- Treatment options include nutritional supplements, therapy, and medications.
- Hospitalization may be required. This is to help ensure that the person is eating enough and not exercising too much.
- This problem is more common in women than men. The condition may be more common among those who participate in sports and activities that focus on body shape and size. This can include modeling, dance and other areas of sport.
- Both individual therapy and group therapy can help treat this disorder.
Tips to help you get the most from your visits to your health care provider:
- Know why you're visiting and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down the questions you want answered.
- Have someone stay with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
- During your visit, write down the name of the new diagnosis and any new medications, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
- Learn why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
- Understand why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results may mean.
- Learn what will happen if you don't take your medicine or have a test or surgery.
- If you have a follow-up appointment, please write down the date, time, and purpose of the visit.
- If you have questions, learn how to contact your provider.