Anorexia is an eating disorder, formally known as Anorexia Nervosa. In this condition, people limit the number of calories and the types of food they eat. They are concerned about their body weight and what they eat. Controlling their weight and shape is very important to anorexics, using extreme efforts that tend to significantly interfere with their lives.
To prevent weight gain, people with anorexia may control calorie intake by vomiting after eating or by misusing laxatives, limited diet, diuretics or enemas. They may also try to reduce weight by exercising aggressively.
Eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population worldwide.
9% of the U.S. population, or 28.8 million Americans, will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.
1.2 percent of the population 15 and older that has anorexia at some point in life.
The reported lifetime prevalence of anorexia nervosa is 0.5-2%, with a peak age of onset around 13-18 years .
Causes of Anorexia:
There is no known cause of anorexia or other eating disorders; they may be inherited from parent to child, depression, or drug addiction. It may be a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factor.
Biological factor- The genes of the body might have been involved, although it's not clear which ones. Some people may be more susceptible to developing anorexia due to genetic alterations.
Psychological factor- Some people with anorexia may have obsessive-compulsive personality traits that make it easier to stick to strict diets and forgo food despite being hungry.
Environmental factor- Modern western culture's trend to be slim which causes them to think they're never thin enough. Peer pressure, especially among young girls, may contribute to the desire to be skinny.
Symptoms of Anorexia
It may be difficult to notice signs and symptoms because what is considered a low body weight varies from person to person and some people may not appear excessively thin.
- Extreme weight loss
- Thin appearance
- Abnormal blood counts
- Dizziness or fainting
- Dry or yellowish skin
- Intolerance of cold
- Low blood pressure
Emotional and behavioral symptoms:
- Severely restricting food intake through dieting or fasting
- Exercising excessively
- Frequently skipping meals or refusing to eat
- Lying about how much food has been eaten
- Eating only a few certain "safe" foods, usually those low in fat and calories
- Bingeing and self-induced vomiting to get rid of food, which may include the use of laxatives, enemas, diet aids or herbal products
If you see any of the above symptoms in you or your loved one then you must talk to trusted person and get help. Unfortunately, most people with anorexia don't want the treatment because their urge to remain thin overrides the concern about their health.