Anorexia nervosa, or self-starvation, is a disease and it can be fatal if left untreated. Recognition of its symptoms can be the first step toward saving yourself or someone you love from the dangerous physical complications of this often deadly disease.
What are the symptoms of anorexia?
Observable symptoms of anorexia include:
- Refusal to maintain body weight
- Fear of gaining weight
- Talking about “feeling fat”
- Difficulty with eating full meals
- Rigidity with “acceptable” foods
- Obsessive preoccupation with body size
- Intense dissatisfaction with physical appearance
- Personality change from outgoing to withdrawn
- Limiting food intake to narrow selection of low-cal foods
- Hoarding, concealing, crumbling or throwing away food
- Menstrual difficulties
What are the dangerous physical complications of anorexia?
Anorexia is a disease with many serious consequences, as 5 to 20 percent of anorexics die of major organ failure, due to their constant starvation.
Physical complications of anorexia include:
- Cardiac problems, such as a slow or rapid heartbeat
- Anema (an unusual amount of bruising)
- Decreasing testicular function in men
- Missing menstrual periods in women
- Tooth decay
- Loss of skin color
- Dizziness and fainting
- High cholesterol
- Lanugo (excessive growth of hair on the body) because the body is trying to keep itself warm due to its loss of fat
- Liver damage
- Pancreatitis, with symptoms including extreme stomach pain and fever
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