What are Long Term Effects of Anorexia?

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What are the long term effects of anorexia ? Anorexia is an eating disorder that causes people to eat unhealthy foods, and use unsafe methods to lose weight. The long-term effects of anorexia can be very harmful to an individual’s health. Anorexia severely affects the body and can result in death in sever cases. It is essential to recognize the symptoms of anorexia and get it treated immediately. 

The disorder of anorexia will cause a person to view them-self in a negative manner. A person with anorexia will try to lose several pounds to feel good about themselves. However, achieving a lean body is not the only reason people will try to lose some extra pounds.  

Globally, there are over 1 billion overweight adults, and the numbers are growing rapidly. As per the CDC, at least half of the Americans think they are overweight and wish to lose weight. They also include individuals who are fit and do not require to follow a weight-loss plan. 

However, some people develop unhealthy food habits only because they think they are overweight or want to avoid gaining weight. This may sound normal, but experts believe it is a serious disorder.  This disorder is called anorexia nervosa, the eating disorder causes you to lose interest in food.  

Anorexia makes you obsessive about losing weight quickly. This results in you eating low-calorie foods and having an excessive fear of gaining weight. 

Causes of Anorexia

The common known cause behind the disorder is people having a negative body image. Apart from that, pressure from society to look slim, this obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can result in anorexia. 

Apart from that, genetics and hormones may also have a role in the development of anorexia. It is believed that serotonin, a chemical produced in the brain, affects one’s ability to develop the eating disorder. 


Symptoms of Anorexia

Some people with the disorder will try different ways to lose weigh and will exercise excessively. People with this problem will also use diuretics and vomiting to get rid of calories. Some of the known symptoms of anorexia involve:

  • Yellow and blotchy skin
  • Insomnia 
  • Constipation
  • Thin hair or hair fall
  • Low blood pressure
  • Three cycles without a period


In addition, if you notice these changes in your behavior you may want to seek help. For example:

  • Not accept that you are hungry
  • avoiding social gatherings just to avoid food
  • using diet pills and laxatives
  • You are always in a depressed mood


 Long-Term Effects of Anorexia

Mental health experts believe anorexia should be taken very seriously, as it affects almost all parts of the body. Its effects may range from poor general health and minor infections to severe medical complications. 

In more severe cases, the long-term effects of anorexia may lead to death. The first recognized case of death due to the anorexia was of Karen Carpenter. The American singer and drummer died in 1983 from heart failure. After investigation, it was found that she suffered from anorexia.

Here are some other long-term effects of anorexia:

  • Anxiety and Depression

This eating disorder affects people of all ages. Children with anorexia can develop mental disorders like anxiety and depression. These mental conditions may promote suicidal behavior in sufferers. 

Reported by Time magazine, researchers have found that the risks of suicide among women with anorexia could be 57 times the rate of other women. 

  • Heart Disease

Severe anorexia may result in heart disease, which can leads to death. The lack of appetite slows down the heart rhythms. Usually, a healthy adult’s resting rate is between 60 and 100 beats a minute. In the case of anorexia, it can be below 60 beats per minute. The condition is called Bradycardia. With the drop in heart rate, the blood flow in the body is reduced, and blood pressure is dropped to a dangerous rate.      

In the case of anorexia, the body does not receive essential minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphate, and magnesium, which create a conditional called Electrolyte Imbalance. Various kinds of minerals supply the required currents to the body for maintaining a normal heartbeat. The imbalanced electrolytes due to the eating disorder can lead to a life-endangering condition.

  • Weak and Brittle Bones

Anorexia may have serious effects on bone health. Many people with the eating disorder experience Osteopenia, a medical condition related to loss of calcium in bones. Some sufferers of anorexia may also have Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density. 

Children with anorexia find it difficult to develop strong bones. Some kids, especially boys, may also suffer from stunted growth.  

As per the National Eating Disorders Association, the loss in bone health can be noticed about six months after anorexia begins. 

Seizures and Other Neurological Problems

If left untreated for a long time, anorexia can take a toll on one’s mental health. However,in severe cases, the disorder leads to nerve damage and affects different parts of the brain. Thus, sufferers may experience conditions like seizures, numbness, and disordered thinking. 

The brain of people with anorexia can develop through structural changes. In some cases this will stop when the individual develop healthy food habits.  In others permanent damage may occur.  


Low blood sugar is a common cause of type 1 diabetes among young adults. People with anorexia deliberately reduce the amount of insulin in their routine to lose weight. The condition is called Diabulimia, which, according to health experts, can be dangerous. 

How to Treat Anorexia

Anorexia can be diagnosed and treated to reduce the harm on the body. Examining blood pressure and heart rate is a common treatment to recognize the symptoms of the eating disorder. Listed below are some other ways to identify anorexia symptoms:

  • Restricted food intake (even when not required)
  • Fear of weight gain
  • Negative thoughts about body image

Although there is no cure for anorexia, its effects can be limited with the help of therapy, medication, and hospitalization in severe cases.

Conclusion: What are Long Term Effects of Anorexia

Anorexia is a dangerous, deadly eating disorder that cannot be ignored. Looking out for its symptoms, diagnosing it timely, and using effective treatment methods may help in speedy recovery. If you find your loved one obsessing about weight loss, please seek professional help.

See Related article: Practicing Mindful Eating Tips

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Founded in 2019 by Keith Harrison, Athletic Digest has come a long way from its beginnings in Detroit, MI. When Keith Harrison first started out, his passion for coaching and playing sports drove him to blog about health and fitness so that athletes or the everyday person can live a better healthy lifestyle. We now serve customers all over the world and are thrilled that we’re able to turn our passion into Athletic Digest, LLC your health and fitness website.
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