New studies are showing that eating disorders are on the rise both among teens, young adults, and the elderly. Women are 50% more likely to have an eating disorder than men. With such statistics, it would be appropriate to discuss this topic. An eating disorder is an obsession with food and weight that could become harmful to a person’s well being. The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
No one knows exactly what causes eating disorders, yet there is much speculation. Some possible causes include stress or being upset about something in life or the need to be ‘in control.’ There are many society related pressures on people, especially women, to be thin. People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They don’t want to eat, are afraid of gaining weight, and they constantly worry about how many calories they take in and how much fat is in their food. They will take diet and water pills to lose weight. People with anorexia may get so thin that they look like they’re ill Bulimia is eating a lot of food at once, binging, and then throwing up or using laxatives to remove the food from the body. After a binge some bulimics fast or over exercise to keep from gaining weight. Bulimics often try to hide their binging and may hide food. They are usually close to normal weight, even though it may fluctuate.
Drastic fluctuations in weight and using weight control medications can do serious harm to a person’s body causing:
- Stomach problems
- Heart / kidney problems
- Irregular or no periods
- Fine hair all over the body including the face
- Dry scaly skin
- Dental problems
Some of the warning signs of eating disorders include:
- Overly concerned about body weight
- Obsession with calories and fat grams
- Use of any medications to keep from gaining weight
- Refusal to eat or lying about how much was eaten
- Over exercising
- Absence of periods
- Increased anxiety about weight
- Calluses or scars on the knuckle from forced throwing up
- Denying that there is anything wrong
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, please make an appointment at our office today. Call 757-488-3333. There is help available!
~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed, MD