Eating Disorders | Complications

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What's wrong with trying to be thin?

It's healthy to watch what you eat and to exercise. What isn't healthy is worrying all the time about your weight and what you eat. People who have eating disorders do harmful things to their bodies because of their obsession about their weight. If it isn't treated, anorexia can cause the following health problems:

  • Stomach problems
  • Heart problems
  • Irregular periods or no periods
  • Fine hair all over the body, including the face
  • Dry, scaly skin

If it isn't treated, bulimia can cause the following health problems:

  • Stomach problems
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Dental problems (from throwing up stomach acid)
  • Dehydration (not enough water in the body)

What are the problems caused by anorexia?

Girls and women who have anorexia may feel cold all the time, and they may get sick often. People who have anorexia are often in a bad mood. They have a hard time concentrating and are always thinking about food. It is not true that anorexics are never hungry. Actually, they are always hungry. Feeling hunger gives them a feeling of control over their lives and their bodies. It makes them feel like they are good at something--they are good at losing weight. People who have severe anorexia may be at risk of death from starvation.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 01/98

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