• Question: If we have a such kind of eating disorder, does it damage our body?

    Asked by doctoroctopus to David, Thiloka, Shonna, Shobhana, Ryan, Ross, Rebecca, Rachel, Patrick, Nina, MattyB, Matthew, Marianne, Lorena, Kate, Kaitlin, James, Ettie, Emmanuelle, Deepak, Anabel, Ambre, Alex, AlexAgrotis, Aina on 28 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 28 Jun 2019:


      Yes it does. I’m not super familiar with eat disorders but whenever i have questions I find the NHS website a good place to start. I looked up Anorexia and Bulemia as they’re the eating disorders I’ve heard of and I’ve listed the long term health issues of both below.
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      Long-term anorexia can lead to severe health problems associated with not getting the right nutrients (malnutrition). But these will usually start to improve once your eating habits return to normal.
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      You can have problems with muscles and bones, fertility problems,problems with the heart and blood vessels, an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, heart valve disease, heart failure, and swelling in the feet, hands or face (oedema), problems with the brain and nerves – including fits (seizures), and difficulties with concentration and memory, kidney or bowel problems, having a weakened immune system or anaemia
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      Anorexia can also put your life at risk. It’s one of the leading causes of deaths related to mental health problems. Deaths from anorexia may be due to physical complications or suicide.
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      Bulimia can eventually lead to physical problems associated with not getting the right nutrients, vomiting a lot, or overusing laxatives.
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      People with Bulemia can have problems feeling tired and weak, dental problems – stomach acid from persistent vomiting can damage tooth enamel and also cause bad breath, a sore throat, or even tears in the lining of the throat, irregular or absent periods, dry skin and hair, brittle fingernails, fits and muscle spasms, heart, kidney or bowel problems, including permanent constipation, bone problems

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 28 Jun 2019:


      Yes – as David has summarised, it can have a range of damaging effects on the body and brain. It can seriously affect sleep, cognitive ability, and neurodevelopment, and therefore affects learning in so many ways. Ultimately, any eating disorder has the potential to be fatal, which is extremely sad. I really hope that by understanding the brain better, we can discover better treatments and help more people with eating disorders.
      These websites give some more information:
      https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/eating-disorders/
      https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/health-consequences

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 28 Jun 2019:


      David has covered this question quite comprehensively. I just wanted to add that eating disorders are thought of as mental illnesses, and there shouldn’t be too much of a separation between physical and mental health because they interact with each other at levels we don’t completely understand. So, when you are suffering from a mental illness, there will be damage to your physical health at some level. An eating disorder is no different, even if it is thought of as ‘mild’ at the time- the consequences can be greater than what meets the eye.

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