How Do Eating Disorders Affect the Body?

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All living disorders have medical consequences and actually from personal note that's kind of what got me involve in to begin with because I kind of like, I like being a physician and I'm a psychiatrist but I really like having to deal with medical side of thing as well. So, that's part of my interest but they all have medical consequences.

Anorexia perhaps is the most severe and the [XX] consequences really are those of starvation. What happens if you loose too much weight? You loose muscle mass. The heart is not spared so heart muscle thins. If you loose enough weight it can impair kidney function, can impair immune function.

So, anorexia has a diagnosis has mortality rate some where in the range of five to 10%, pretty significant. And people die from anorexia because of heart failure, kidney failure or overwhelming infections because their body just can't fight the infection the way it normally would.

So, anorexia has a lot of serious medical complications. Bulimia can have medical complications. Most often, fortunately, these are not severe, but people who make themselves throw up regularly, abuse laxatives, abuse diuretics, exercise compulsively, may be at risk of dehydration.

They can be at risk of low potassium. It's one of the chemicals that's very important in the body because it is involved in muscle contractions. So, they might experience muscle spasms. More importantly they could experience cardiac arrhythmia. So, their heart isn't beating right because of low potassium.

That's obviously a major danger. Laxative abuse is very serious and I have seen young women who have ended up having their colons removed because of the chronic laxative abuse. Laxatives are not intended, especially the stimulant kind of laxatives, the X-lax, correct all that stuff, to be used in quantity on a daily basis.

When it's used that way it will eventually destroy the nerve endings under the colon. So the colon just effectively becomes inert, just sits there. And at that point there's nothing else to do except remove the colon, and do what is called an ileostomy, bring the small intestine out to the skin surface and put a bag on it.

So, this is serious stuff. The other complicating situation I should mention is diabetes and bulimia. The only people I've ever seen die from bulimia have been diabetic. But if you can understand that what some people with bulimia do is binge eat, their diabetic. Their blood sugar goes sky high.

They don't cover it with insulin because if they covered it with insulin, they'd end up absorbing the calories. So, they don't cover it with insulin. They lose the calories out but they are putting their blood sugars very very high which puts them at huge risk for all the many medical complication that can happen with diabetes from blindness to kidney failure.

Bench eating disorder basically is those medical complications are those of morbid obesity. If you get to over 100% to 100% ideal body weight, you're going to start to have medical problems like high blood pressure, type two diabetes, joint degeneration, skin breakdown. There are a slow problems, and those are basically those of a morbid obesity.

So, all these disorders have medical complications. The kind of medical complication depends on the kind of disorder, but you will catch with an eating disorder without also paying attention to the medical side of things.