Anorexia - Anerexia - Killing American Teens Everday
The vicious eating disorder known to all as anorexia is one of the most deadly out there. More common in females than males, it's estimated that 1% of all teenage girls have this disorder, and that out of that 1%, up to 10% may die from it.
The individual with this disorder believes they are obese or overweight and have a very poor self-image of themself. In an attempt to quickly lose weight by whatever means necessary, people with anorexia have been known to starve themselves, take laxatives in order to expell food from the body, and it many cases extreme amounts of exercise. Any of these three are enough to take a terrible toll on the body.
Don't confuse anorexia with bulimia. Anorexia is when a person refuses to eat (or eats very little). Bulimia is when a person consumes large amounts of food (binging) and then force themself to vomit in back up (purging). Both stem from an incredibly poor image of self and the person thinking or feeling extremely overweight, but they are very different diseases.
What are the symptoms and medical problems?
If you think someone might have a problem with anorexia, here are some short term signs to look for:
Extreme weight loss over a short period of time
Unwilling to eat in front of others
Unusual concern about calorie intake
For women only: 3 consecutively missed menstrual cycles
These are just some of the most common signs that someone may be anorexic. This is by no means a complete list nor do these signs always indicate anorexia. This is just a guide to use. If you feel that someone you know and love may have a problem, sit down with the person, surround them with friends and family, and have a loving, understanding discussion with them.
And let's not forget the affects of pregnancy on an anorexic, or even a recovering anorexic. Most women gain between 20-25 lbs during their pregnancy. How well do you think someone with an eating disorder would react to this?
Depriving your body of food while you are pregnant can take away nourishment from your unborn child and put his or her life in jeopardy. Children who are born to anorexic mothers may develop heart disease, underactive kidney and liver, and have weak bones and teeth. No child deserves to be handicapped unneccesarily even before they are born!
If anorexia goes undiagnosed and untreated for too long, the effects of this disorder become much worse. Some long term effects include:
Why do so many people develop anorexia and eating disorders?
The answer is quite simple. Tragic, but simple. We live in a society that equates skinniness with success, happiness, and beauty. When young children are bombarded with these images daily, they develop the idea that they too must look a certain away in order to be accepted by society and be happy. Without the proper education about healthy eating and weight maintainence, many will do whatever it takes to lose weight.
What has led our society to such a low level of moral standard? How can someone put themselves, their body, and their family through the rigors of a deadly disorder such as anorexia? It's not the individual's fault, that's for sure. Society is to blame for such an epidemic. And yes, I do mean epidemic. People are dying from these disorders daily just so that they feel like they fit into a society who could care less about them.
About the Author: Steve Urbick is a college student writing health and fitness related articles.