Three of the most common eating disorders are: anorexia nervosa,
bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.
· Anorexia nervosa
People who have anorexia develop unusual eating habits such as
avoiding food and meals, picking out a few foods and eating them
in small amounts, weighing their food, and counting the calories
of everything they eat. It is a serious problem and people with
this eating disorder may also have a fear of being fat and deliberately
starve or refuse to eat. Also, they may exercise excessively.
Anorexia can slow the heart rate and lower blood
pressure, increasing the chance of heart failure. Those who use
drugs to stimulate vomiting, bowel movements, or urination are
also at high risk for heart failure. Starvation can also lead
to heart failure, as well as damage the brain. Anorexia may also
cause hair and nails to grow brittle. Skin may dry out, become
yellow, and develop a covering of soft hair called lanugo. Mild
anemia, swollen joints, reduced muscle mass, and light-headedness
also commonly occur as a consequence of this eating disorder.
Severe cases of anorexia can lead to brittle bones that break
easily as a result of calcium loss.
People with this eating disorder, weighs at least
15 percent below what is considered normal for others of the same
height and age. Females may miss at least three consecutive menstrual
cycles (if a female of childbearing age); has an intense fear
of gaining weight; refuses to maintain the minimal normal body
weight; and believes he or she is overweight though in reality
is dangerously thin. Anorexia nervosa is often caused by depression
and is common among young women.
· Bulimia nervosa
People who have bulimia eat an excessive amount of food in a single
episode and almost immediately make themselves vomit or use laxatives
or diuretics (water pills) to get rid of the food in their bodies.
This behavior often is referred to as the "binge/purge"
cycle. Like people with anorexia, people with bulimia have an
intense fear of gaining weight.
Frequent vomiting has detrimental effects on the
body. The acid in vomit can wear down the outer layer of the teeth,
inflame and damage the esophagus (a tube in the throat through
which food passes to the stomach), and enlarge the glands near
the cheeks (giving the appearance of swollen cheeks). Damage to
the stomach can also occur from frequent vomiting. Irregular heartbeats,
heart failure, and death can occur from chemical imbalances and
the loss of important minerals such as potassium. Peptic ulcers,
pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas, which is a large gland
that aids digestion), and long-term constipation are also consequences
Bulimic people have at least two binge/purge cycles
a week, on average, for at least 3 months; lacks control over
his or her eating behaviour; and seems obsessed with his or her
body shape and weight.
· Binge-eating disorder
In general, over eating of all kinds is usually the result of
emotional and psychological factors related with anxiety, grief,
sadness and low esteem. Some people go on eating to compensate
People with this recently recognized disorder have
frequent episodes of compulsive overeating, but unlike those with
bulimia, they do not purge their bodies of food, During these
food binges, they often eat alone and very quickly, regardless
of whether they feel hungry or full. They often feel shame or
guilt over their actions. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, binge-eating
disorder occurs almost as often in men as in women.
Binge-eating disorder can cause high blood pressure
and high cholesterol levels. Other effects of binge-eating disorder
include fatigue, joint pain, Type II diabetes, gallbladder disease,
and heart disease. They may also lead to obesity and metabolic
People with such eating disorder has at least two binge-eating
episodes a week, on average, for 6 months; and lacks control over
his or her eating behaviour.