What is Anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by restrictive eating leading to excessive weight loss or difficulty maintaining a normal body weight. It has significant mental and physical health consequences.
Signs and Symptoms
- Extreme calorie restriction – Severely limiting food intake, often to only several hundred calories a day.
- Intense fear of gaining weight – Overwhelming worry about weight gain even when underweight.
- Distorted body image – Inability to see body accurately, often still feeling overweight when emaciated.
- Excessive exercise – Compulsive need to exercise excessively as a means to burn calories.
- Low body weight – Weighing significantly less than normal for age and height.
- Amenorrhea or missed periods – Cessation of menstrual cycle due to low body weight and inadequate nutrition.
- Bone loss
- Hormone dysfunction
- Heart damage
- Kidney failure
- Digestive issues
- Increased risk of early death
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact causes are unknown but are believed to involve a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological and social factors.
Reversing anorexia requires professional medical and mental health treatment. A team approach with nutritional counseling, therapy and social support provides the best outcomes.
In summary, anorexia nervosa is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder requiring compassionate medical intervention and mental health support for those affected.
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