Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are physical consequences of anorexia?

Answer:

Anorexia produces a host of problems, ranging from depletion of visible body fat to ammenorrhea and fatigue to such life-treatening complications as hypertension, peripheral edema, electrolyte abnormalities, and cardiac arrhythmia. The anorectic frequently cannot regulate body temperature and remains hypothermic. Constipation is common. Simple starvation may cause loss of muscle strength, vitamin deficiencies, and demineralization of bone. The consequences may be especially severe for the adolescent, who may fail to adequately support the later stages of growth.

Mortality for anorectics has been reported to be as high as 18%, although 5-10% is probably more accurate.

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