Tuesday, 15 November 2011

What are the side effects of Anorexia?

Anorexia is a condition which is characterized by self-starvation, extreme weight loss and following a strict diet.  This disorder is spreading at a large rate all over the world and people, specially women, are the most affected by this condition.  According to National Eating Disorders Association, the deaths due to anorexia are on the increase.  Between 5 to 12% people die due to eating disorders of anorexia.

Characteristics of Anorexia –
·        Dieting even when a person is thin.
·        Obsession with health and calories.
·        Constantly thinking about food and its effect on obesity leading to less intake of food.
·        Making excuses not eating.

There are a number of side-effects which are produced due to anorexia which are discussed below –
Psychological side effects Along with self-starvation and a strict diet, anorexia patients also engage in excessive exercises and use laxatives.  They are convinced that being obese is their main enemy, due to which they suffer from low self-esteem and low confidence.  They may feel that they are powerless and out of control.  Also, these people are irritated by the slightest provocation leading to an unhealthy temperament.

Mental side effects Most of the people affected by anorexia find it difficult to think rationally.  They have problems regarding concentration as they are always thinking about food and exercises. 

Physical side effects – As anorexia is directly related to malnutrition, most of the physical side effects are caused due to deficiency of vitamins and minerals which are required by the body.

Weakness/Fatigue – A person affected by anorexia suffers from malnutrition. There is a deficiency of the all important vitamins and minerals which a body needs and as such these persons feel weakness and fatigue at the slightest overexertion of work. They are not able to work continuously for a long period of time.
Anemia – Due to the deficiency of iron in the body, a person suffering from Anorexia feels out of breath, fatigued and weak.  This leads to an anemic condition resulting in immunity problems to various infections and even heart palpitation.
Paralysis – An anorexic patient is derived from some important minerals needed by the body such as potassium.  At times degeneration of nerve cells in brain are deprived of essential nutrients.  This may have a negative impact leading to frequent paralytic attacks resulting in severe paralysis.
Heart problems – As anorexia causes low blood pressure and slow heart rate, most of the people suffering from this condition experience heart problems and are ideal candidates for heart attacks and heart failure.
Osteoporosis – This is a disease relating to brittle bones.  In anorexia, the persons are deprived of the much needed calcium and bone proteins.  This results in reducing the density of bones making them dry and brittle.  The end result is delicate and brittle bone structure which is a sign of osteoporosis.
Hair loss – This is another physical side effect of anorexia.  Due to deficiency of essential ingredient in the body, hair loss is observed in the person.  Lanugo, a disorder of the hair is a frequent phenomenon in anorexia.
Kidney failure – kidney failure due to vitamin deficiencies and infections are common in anorexic patients.
Infertility – Women affected by anorexia suffer from imbalance in ovarial functions leading to unperiodic menstrual cycle.  This can lead to infertility in women.


  1. You have created a very helpful & informative site - Thanks

  2. Many people know that the month of February is a time to celebrate National Heart Month, but it is also the month for Body Awareness Month. I don't think it's a coincidence that the two occur at the same time. Though body awareness could mean many things, putting a focus on anorexia and the what it does to the heart could make a difference in the life of someone suffering. Besides changing society's perceptions of thinness, recognizing the symptoms and getting early treatment is the next best thing to prevention.

    Those who are at risk include: emotionally insecure, high performance athletes, models/dancers, and a family history. This month, take the time to promote positive self-images and be aware that your body is your temple.

    Christal DeLoach
    Fayetteville NC Health & Wellness Coach