Anorexia Nervosa – The Eating Disorder That Causes Weight Loss

Categorized as an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa is a disorder that causes the individual to lose a lot of weight over a brief period. The weight loss is very dramatic and affects the health of the person to a great extent. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is used in this regard to establish whether the affected person is in the healthy range for weight for the respective age and height.

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa make the patient fearful of weight gain even if they are tremendously underweight. These patients resort to all kinds of methods to keep extra pounds at bay, including exercising a lot, eating less or not eating at all, and throwing up frequently to make sure their stomachs stay empty.

The causes of anorexia nervosa

Researchers have still not been able to uncover the precise reason for the development of this condition. Yet many factors are known to play an important role in the etiology of this illness. Some of the reasons include genetics, a combination of environmental, and stress-related incidences, and social and cultural factors; such as having an unrealistic standard of beauty and perfection.

What is known is that when individuals become anorexic, they are doing so as a matter of control.  They are unable to manage certain factors in their life, so they choose to control their body. They govern their food intake so they can control something in their life.

Anorexia nervosa risk factors

Some of the risk factors for the development of anorexia include being too worried about putting on some pounds even if you are in the right range of weight, having a history of anxiety disorders in the family, feeling bad about your appearance, eating problems while young, 

The beginning of anorexia occurs in pre-teens or teenage years, especially in girls. You are likely to come across many anorexic girls who belong to a family of high achievers and have a set code of how life ‘should’ be.

The symptoms of Anorexia nervosa

There are some clear indicators of medical weight loss caused by anorexia nervosa. Certain signs indicate the presence of disorders such as anorexia (especially in youngsters). The signs include the urge to go to the toilet immediately after meals, drastic reduction of portion sizes, exercising even when injured, refusal to eat in front of others, resorting to diuretics to lose water weight, frequent use of diet pills or laxatives, yellow skin caused by lack of hemoglobin, poor judgment, and slow thinking and an increased tendency towards depression.

How to overcome Anorexia nervosa disease

In order to evaluate the extent and nature of medical weight loss in an anorexic patient, the tests carried out include serum electrolytes, urinalysis, albumin, total body protein, bone density test, thyroid function test, complete blood count, kidney function test, electrocardiogram, and liver function test.

The main focus of the medical practitioner should be making the patient understand that they have a clinical disorder that is ruining all aspects of their life. This is necessary because it is quite normal for patients with anorexia illness to deny the fact that they have a medical condition.

Building up the patient’s self-esteem and helping him/her get healthy will take some time. However, persistence will enable the patient to overcome the disease/ medical weight loss caused by anorexia.

For more information and how you can help, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association. Donations can be made here.