About Eating Disorders

Health Consequences

Eating disorders affect a person’s emotional and physical health. They are not just a “phase” that will pass, or a choice an individual makes. They are complicated, devastating, sometimes fatal conditions that can have serious implications on someone’s health. It is crucial that individuals struggling with an eating disorder seek professional help to avoid facing serious health consequences.

Anorexia Nervosa involves severe restriction of food intake, which can cause the body to go into survival mode. This process slows down important functions of the body in order to conserve energy. The consequences are dangerous and can be fatal.

  • Fatigue and fainting
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Osteoporosis (reduction of bone density)
  • Muscle loss and weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney failure
  • Lanugo (layer of downy hair all over the body)
  • Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation in women)

Bulimia Nervosa involves a cycle of binging and purging. The health consequences of bulimia are most often related to purging behaviors.

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart failure
  • Tooth decay
  • Acid reflux
  • Inflammation and rupture of esophagus
  • Intestinal distress and irritation

Binge Eating Disorder involves frequent episodes of binge eating. The health consequences are most often associated with being overweight.

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems