Anorexia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder. The patient is psychologically bound to lose weight by self-starvation. The individual restricts eating, accompanied by excessive exercising or the overuse of diet pills in order to reduce body weight. Despite being underweight patient has an immense fear of gaining weight. The exact cause is not known but the various others factors that contribute in the development of such behavior are body image and self-esteem issues or pressure from society. Females are more often affected than males. The affected individual tends to show compulsive behavior. They become over-conscious and control their intake of food and weight. They are displeased with their bodies and develop other psychological problems. Anorexia is a result of biological, psychological and social factors. It is more common in adolescent women. Self-starvation results in the deficiency of proteins, vitamin, hypoglycemia, suppression of thyroid function, neuroendocrine disturbance and altered function of various organs.
Anorexia has a high mortality rate because of the complications of the disorder.
A tendency to develop anorexia nervosa is at the peak in teen years but adults and old people are also known to develop this disorder. It is more common in females than men.
The exact cause of anorexia nervosa is not known. Studies have shown that personality traits, hormonal and environmental factors might be responsible. Pressure from the certain group of people that considers high value of thin or lean bodies may be responsible for contributing to anorexia nervosa.
Following are the risk factors for anorexia nervosa:
• Teenage girls.
• Over consciousness about weight.
• Anxiety disorders.
• The certain profession that demands a lean body.
• Unintentional weight loss.
Patient with anorexia nervosa presents herself with:
• Immense fear of weight gain.
• Feeling fat, despite being underweight.
• Excessive weight loss.
• Depression, anxiety, or irritability.
• Scanty or absent menstrual periods.
• Extreme sensitivity to cold.
• Social withdrawal.
• Physical symptoms that develop over time, including Cold or swollen hands and feet, thin hair, brittle nails, dry skin, low blood pressure, constipation with bloated or upset stomach, swollen joints and a new growth of thin hair over the body.
Following tests must be done to check the effect of starvation on body organs:
• Psychological evaluation.
• Blood tests — to look for signs of anemia, to check electrolytes, and to check liver and kidney function.
• Electrocardiogram — to look for abnormal heart rhythms.
• Bone density test — to check for osteoporosis.
• Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers may help some anorexic patients when given as part of a complete treatment program. Examples include:
• Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). • Antipsychotics.
• Psychological intervention.
• Behavior therapy.
• Rehabilitation of nutrition.
Diet: Nutritional care of people with anorexia nervosa must be considered. A well-balanced diet, nutritional supplements, vegetarian is recommended.
Prognosis is good in case the disorder is developed at an early age. Long-term treatment is necessary as the patient may continue to maintain low body weight.
• Bones become weak.
• Increased risk of infection as the number of white blood cells decreases.
• Abnormal heart rhythms because of decreased potassium level.
• Severe dehydration.
• Severe malnutrition
• Seizures due to electrolyte imbalance because of repeated diarrhea and vomiting.
•Gradual loss of weight due to impaired nutrition.
•Also indicated when there is a reduction in the refractive index of blood serum.
•Also helps to maintain body system when it is under the stress of malignancy.
•Patient cannot bear the sight or smell of food.
•Nausea, retching, after eating or drinking.
•Patient has long-lasting eructations.
•Gastralgia (pain in stomach) from slightest food or drink.
•Bloated feeling in the stomach.
•Patient has a sensation of weight on stomach after eating a small quantity of food.
•Darting pain crosswise in hypogastric region.
•Hungry looking for food which lies undigested.
•There is the regurgitation of food which gives no relief.
•Patient has complete loss of appetite or excessive appetite.
•Food tastes too salty.
•Drink much, eats little.
•Females have nausea during gestation.
•Patient disagrees milk.
•Water fills the patient up.
•Patient complains of sour eructation
•All gone feeling in the stomach, which get worst on slightest touch.
•Averse to ordinary diet, long for the great variety of indigestible articles.
•Sinking in the stomach, relieved by taking a deep breath.
•Rumbling in the bowels.
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