Cause and Effect: Anorexia
“I look like a normal, well-adjusted 15-year-old high school sophomore. I like talking to friends on the phone, riding my bike, watching TV, and spending time with my boyfriend. I make above average grades and like math and science classes the best. However, about a year ago, my weight dropped to 72 pounds. I lay in a hospital bed with unkempt hair, fragile limbs and a sunken face. I was seriously ill. The villainous disease was not cancer or AIDS. I had anorexia, a condition which afflicts many teens and young adults, especially young women.” Holly (Caringonline.org) Anorexia is a type of eating disorder who has an intense fear of gaining weight. They severely limit the amount of food they eat and can become dangerously thin. Anorexia affects both the mind and body and can even become deadly. Anorexia usually starts in the teen years and can go into adult hood. Untreated anorexia can lead to starvation and serious health problems, such as osteoporosis, kidney damage, and heart problems. Some people die from these problems. The cause of anorexia is not fully understood. It is thought to be from a mix of physical, emotional,, and social triggers. Extreme dieting changes how the brain and metabolism work, and it stresses the body. Genetics play a big part in anorexia. A combination of certain personality traits such as low self-confidence along with perfectionism and cultural and social pressures can play a big part in anorexia. For some teens, anorexia can be a way of coping with stressful events, such as moving, divorce, or the death of a love one.
People who have anorexia will often deny that anything is wrong. Almost half of people who have anorexia will eventually develop symptoms, binge-purge behavior, of another eating disorder called bulimia nervosa. Some of the symptoms people who have anorexia think they are overweight even when they are very thin, weigh much less than is healthy or normal, are afraid of gaining weight, and refuse to stay at a normal weight. Their lives become focused on controlling their weight. They limit how much food they eat and may limit themselves to just a few hundred calories a day, exercise a lot even when they are sick, vomiting or using laxatives, and become secretive and withdrawn from friends and family. As starvation sets in, they start to develop signs of serious problems throughout the body. They may feel weak, tired, or faint , have thinned hair, dry skin, brittle nails, stop having menstrual periods, feel cold all the time, swollen feet, poor blood flow and low blood presser are some of the signs of serious problems. There is no single test that can diagnose eating disorder, but if your doctor thinks you may be anorexic, he or she will check you for signs of malnutrition or starvation. Doctors may ask questions about your mental well-being. Some common exams and tests include a medical history, physical exam, screening questions, mental health assessment, blood test and X-rays. Anorexia causes serious health complications as weight loss and starvation progress. Starvation affects all areas of the anorexic body, including the heart.
Mortality rate from anorexia are high. If anorexia nervosa damages the heart enough, anorexics can develop an irregular heartbeat. In addition, other effects of anorexia include dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can also cause cardiac arrhythmias and death. Some of the physical effects of anorexia are from limited food intake or malnutrition. Some effects are mood swings, lack of energy, muscle weakness, fatigue, slowed thinking or poor memory, constipation and bloating, tooth decay and gum disease, dizziness, fainting, headaches, and growing fine hair all over the body and face. People with anorexia are often depressed and have low self-esteem. They experience feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. People with anorexia often develop a self destructive behavior by self mutilation, a way to cope with their painful emotions and withdraw from social situations. Other psychological anorexia and effects include lack of interest in doing things previously enjoyed. Anne suffered from anorexia at age 16. Anne weighed 110 lbs. But a boy told she wasn’t asked to a school dance because she was fat. He was teasing but she was inclined to take it seriously. And she started counting calories. First, Anne skipped lunch. When swimming suit fashions appeared in stores she dropped breakfast. She obsessively weighed her food and calculated the calories that she consumed. By summer her daily intake had plummeted to some 300 calories a day. Anne weighed 93 pounds. Her knees, elbows and fingers often swelled uncomfortably. She complained that her fingernails broke easily and her hair had split ends.
When her friends and parents deplored her emaciated frame, Anne deplored “the ripples of fat” on her legs and her stomach. She adamantly refused to see a doctor until she fainted while boarding the school bus. In the fall, she cut her forehead; her parents took her to the emergency room. Appalled by her emaciation, the physician said Anne suffered from anorexia nervosa and immediately admitted her to the hospital (library.thinkquest.org). Anorexia is a deadly disease if you don’t catch it early. Physically and psychologically anorexia will destroy your body and your mind. You get so consumed on limiting your calorie intake and ignoring your health by depriving your body from nutrients and malnutrition. Mentally by starving yourself you think you are in control but the disease ends up controlling you. Anorexia starts at a young age affecting teen but it can also affect adult hood. Anorexia does not only affect females but also affects males.