Eating disorders affect both women and men of all ages. The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. If you or someone you love may have an eating disorder, visit a healthcare professional for medical support, and know that you are not alone.
Anorexia is an eating disorder that affects people mentally, physically, and emotionally. There are two subtypes of anorexia nervosa: restrictor type and bulimic type. Restrictors limit their food intake severely while bulimics eat large amounts then proceed to make themselves vomit. Eventually, this can lead to unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition that can be life threatening. Complications from anorexia include osteoporosis, kidney failure, and heart failure.
Symptoms of Anorexia
Low body weight
Extreme fear of gaining weight
Warped body image
Obsession with food preparation
Unusual eating behaviors
Denial of hunger
Being thin or frail
Intolerance to the cold
Fine body hair growth
Yellowing of the skin
Brittle hair and nails
Changes in mood
Binge eating or purging
Inability to assess severity of the situation
Bulimia is characterized by eating a large amount of food then purging by vomiting or excessive use of laxatives. Because people with bulimia often have an average or above average body weight, this eating disorder can go unnoticed by others. Bulimia can cause dangerous complications, including stomach rupture, heart problems, and kidney problems.
Symptoms of Bulimia
Recurrent episodes of bingeing
Fear of not being able to quit eating
Excessive fasting and exercise
Unusual eating habits
Excessive use of laxatives
Depression or anxiety
Obsession with food, weight, and body type
Constant sore throat
Fear of gaining weight
Intense dislike of own body shape and size
Feeling out of control
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder is characterized by eating large amounts of food in a short period of time. People with this disorder are more at risk for obesity and its common complications, including heart disease and diabetes. People with this disorder are also prone to psychiatric problems, especially depression.
Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
Consuming large quantities of food in a short time period
If you think a loved one may have an eating disorder, follow this advice. Contact a trusted adult or medical professional if you are concerned with the health and safety of your loved one.
In the event of severe malnutrition, fainting, dehydration, or other complications due to an eating disorder, go to the nearest emergency center. St. Luke's Health emergency rooms are open 24/7 for all emergencies.