Could Serious Complications of Anorexia be Fatal?

The aesthetic concepts of “supermodel figure” and “thinness is beautiful” have penetrated into the subconscious of many women in Asia. Under the extreme pressure of self-requiring body shape, many people are even willing to try weight loss pills, induce vomiting, oil-free meals or take laxatives Various weight loss methods, such as long-term self-imposed pressure, have affected many people’s mental status and even suffered from anorexia.

Anorexia has a huge physical and psychological impact on patients and their relatives and friends, making the issue of anorexia more widely concerned. How to improve anorexia?

What is anorexia

Anorexia is an eating disorder. According to research, anorexia commonly occurs in adolescence, with the average age of onset being 17 years old. Most of the patients are young girls with sensitive, stubborn, and perfectionistic personalities. People with anorexia often resist maintaining a “normal” weight and are extremely afraid of gaining weight. In addition, family factors, psychological development disorders, and depression are also likely to cause anorexia.

However, fear of becoming fat or eating abnormally does not necessarily lead to being diagnosed with anorexia. According to the “Eating and Mental Health” study released by the Department of Psychiatry, the status of a patient diagnosed with anorexia is:

  1. Refusing to maintain a minimum weight or weighing less than 85% of ideal body weight
  2. Weight is lower than normal (BMI≤17.5 kg/m2)
  3. Self-body perception disorder: fear of getting fat even if you are underweight
  4. Refusing to eat in public, eating slowly, and resorting to excessive exercise, assisted vomiting, or medication to achieve weight loss
  5. No menstrual cramps for at least 3 consecutive times

Anorexia causes physical and mental complications: severe cases can lead to death

As anorexia worsens, the body may develop the following complications, which can even lead to death, with a mortality rate of approximately 5%. Psychiatric medical research points out that long-term anorexia can easily lead to malnutrition, which will cause great harm to the human body and will be reflected in the following six major physiological system abnormalities:

6 major physiological system abnormalities:

  1. Cardiac system abnormalities:
    Abnormal heart function such as arrhythmia, bradycardia, hypotension, mitral valve prolapse, etc. can even lead to sudden death. They are also one of the common causes of death in patients with anorexia.
  2. Reproductive system abnormalities:
    Menstrual atresia, amenorrhea, no secondary sex characteristics, infertility.
  3. Digestive system abnormalities:
    Gastric bloating, constipation, slow gastrointestinal motility.
  4. Abnormalities of the blood system:
    Reduction of white blood cells, difficulty in blood coagulation, and anemia.
  5. Abnormalities of the skin system:
    Hair loss, dry and yellow skin, itching, edema of the lower limbs, and difficulty in wound healing.
  6. Bone abnormalities:
    Long-term malnutrition affects the bones and reduces the weight load, causing osteoporosis and prone to fractures.

In addition, many anorexia patients often induce vomiting and improperly use drugs such as diuretics and laxatives to lose weight, which can easily lead to electrolyte imbalance and complications such as renal dysfunction, abnormal muscle movement, and epileptic seizures. , and even confusion and abnormal conditions. Psychiatric research suggests that when an anorexia patient’s weight has dropped by more than 30% to 40% compared with before the onset of the disease, the patient should be arranged to be admitted directly to the hospital for treatment.

4 major mental illnesses

In addition to causing multiple physical complications in patients, anorexia is also accompanied by the following psychological diseases:

  1. Depression
  2. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  3. Social anxiety disorder
  4. Hypochondriasis

How to eat for anorexia?

When an anorexic patient starts to be willing to eat again, it is not advisable to resume normal eating immediately. The most direct dietary advice is to start by eating hot porridge. “Because the human body cannot absorb much food when it is extremely weak, boiling white rice into porridge will make it easier for the patient to absorb, and it will not put a huge burden on the stomach that is not peristaltic due to anorexia.”

The physiological manifestations of patients with anorexia, such as refusing to eat or vomiting, actually represent a lot of indigestible anger and sadness. Therefore, nutritional rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and other methods are often used in clinical practice. The most important thing is to help anorexic patients resolve their psychological trauma and pressure and face their difficulties, which is the basis for treating anorexia.

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