Dangers of Adolescent Eating Disorders
While it may not seem like a very big deal to skip a few meals here and there, or to force yourself to throw up after a big meal once in a while, these acts are actually signs of some very serious illnesses. Anorexia is what doctors have named when someone refuses to eat sufficient calories because of a fear of becoming fat. When you binge and purge, it is called bulimia. Even though it may seem like every other teenager is doing one or the other, these adolescent eating disorders are not a healthy way to maintain weight and can have serious consequences if left untreated.
Anorexia is really the same thing as starvation. When you starve your body, it can damage some of your most vital organs, like your heart and brain. Your period may decrease and eventually stop. Your breathing may become shallower and your pulse and blood pressure will likely fall. Anemia, light-headedness, lower muscle mass, and even swollen joints can occur with this subset of adolescent eating disorders. Dehydration, constipation, and dry, yellow, hairy skin are also potential side effects. For those who are severely affected the brain may shrink, or you could even die.
Bulimia also brings with it a host of unpleasant side effects. Rarely, a binge eating event may cause the stomach to actually tear open, which can cause a very painful death. Throwing up repeatedly can result in dehydration and a loss of the electrolytes responsible for keeping the hear t pumping, which may lead to heart failure.
Less life-threatening conditions may also occur. The outer layer of the teeth, or the enamel, gets worn away by the acid in vomit. This can end in constant tooth problems, expensive dental work, and even pulled teeth and dentures at a very young age. An inflamed esophagus is also likely to occur.
The dangers of these adolescent eating disorders are very real. They have life-altering consequences and those who find themselves thinking about engaging in this type of behavior should seek medical help immediately.
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