This is physical damage

What is anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa (anorexia nervosa) is an eating disorder in which those affected want to achieve or maintain the lowest possible body weight. The onset of anorexia usually begins in early adolescence or puberty. Affected children or adolescents are dissatisfied with their weight or figure and therefore want to lose weight. Along with this, psychological and social factors are involved in the development of the disease.

According to the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA), around 3 to 5% of all adults have an eating disorder – This includes anorexia, but also other diseases such as binge eating.
About one fifth of children and adolescents show signs of eating disorders between the ages of eleven and 17. Girls and women are affected more often than boys and men.

Physical damage of anorexia

The longer the anorexia persists, the more severe the physical and psychological consequences. A long-term deficiency has a negative effect on the whole organism.

  • Metabolism: Due to the lack of food, there is a lack of energy, which ensures that the body switches to “low flame”. In this way the body temperature is lowered, the blood pressure falls and the heart beats more slowly. Many affected anorexics freeze quickly and usually have cold hands and feet.
  • Immune system: Due to the lack of supply, the immune system also suffers. The body is more susceptible to infections and diseases.
  • Brain: Malnutrition causes loss of brain tissue, which affects performance and causes headaches and difficulty concentrating. Fortunately, brain substance also increases again with weight gain.
  • Colon: People with eating disorders are more likely to suffer from constipation because reduced food intake slows and delays digestion.
  • Skin and hair: Due to the lack of nutrients, the skin becomes drier, the nails become more brittle and the hair becomes thinner or may even fall out.
  • Bones, muscles and teeth: The body breaks down muscle mass when it receives less energy. Bone metabolism is disturbed in connection with a lack of calcium, phosphate and vitamin D. As a result, bones become more fragile (osteoporosis). Affected people who suffer from bulimia and vomit often have huge dental problems. Tooth decay or even tooth loss can be a threat due to the acidic stomach contents rising.
  • Salt balance disorder: Extreme hunger or vomiting upsets the salt balance and you lack vital electrolytes such as potassium. This can lead to cardiac arrhythmia.

Anorexia: The psyche also suffers

Anorexia usually results from psychological problems, which are therefore part of the clinical picture. People with eating disorders therefore often suffer from depression, compulsions, fears or personality disorders.
To seek help, those affected can learn more about counseling and therapy options on the Federal Center for Health Education website.

Video: Anorexia – 5 Facts About Misunderstood Eating Disorder