Long-term or severe anorexia also can cause serious medical complications, such as: 2
- Osteoporosis , which results from a lack of calcium in the diet as well as too much cortisol and too little estrogen in the body. The teenage years are critical bone-building years.
- Joint injuries, from too much exercise.
- Fractures , which are common in female athletes who have an eating disorder and also have osteoporosis and irregular menstrual cycles (known as the female athlete triad).
- Anemia .
- Kidney function problems, often caused by ongoing dehydration or abuse of laxatives.
- Heart problems, such as a slow or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and low blood pressure (hypotension).
- Cavities or tooth decay .
If left untreated, many of these conditions can lead to death. Up to 8 out of 100 people who have anorexia will eventually die from complications of malnutrition or from suicide. 3 But restoring healthy eating habits and good nutrition may reverse many of the complications of anorexia.
- Agras WS (2008). The eating disorders. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 13, chap. 9. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.
- Sigel EJ (2011). Eating disorders. In WW Hay et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 20th ed., pp. 159–170. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Franko DL, et al. (2013). A longitudinal investigation of mortality in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry. Published online August 1, 2013 (doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12070868).
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry|
|Current as of||August 27, 2013|
Current as of: August 27, 2013
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