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Eating
disorders are one of the most traumatic experiences that affect millions of
American people. It is often defined as obscure changes in eating patterns, and
eating-related behavior.  Eating
disorders includes, but are not limited to: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa,
and binge-eating disorder. Those with eating disorders are known to be
dissatisfied with their body image and body weight, which contributes to their
eating patterns and/ or behaviors. Anorexia nervosa is when one “does not eat
enough food to maintain a reasonable body weight, and they have an intense fear
of gaining weight or becoming fat” (Fahey, Chapter 9). According to NCBI,
anorexia nervosa has the highest morality of any psychiatric disorder.  In the following, research will be presented
on how anorexia nervosa disorder affects the body.

Anorexia
nervosa affects about 1% of Americans, which is approximately 3 million people.
Majority of those who suffer from anorexia nervosa are female, between the age
of 12 to 18 (Fahey, Chapter 9). According to NCBI, the most common cause of
weight loss, and admission to child and adolescent hospital services is
anorexia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa, itself, does not have a singular cause.
However, there are known associations that can trigger the urge. In a 2000
study, families that contain twins had their brains scanned. All family members
who suffered from anorexia nervosa and those who did not participated in the
brain scans. Along with a multicentre gene analysis report, this study concluded
that families that who have traits of obsessive, perfectionism and also,
competitiveness can cause a development of anorexia nervosa. It has been said
that anorexia nervosa is used as a coping mechanism for the pressures of
academic and familial pressures. Sexual abuse can also play role. However,
anorexia nervosa does not necessarily need a cause to develop, one can suffer
from it without any emotional, mental, and physical stress and/or abuse.

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Anorexia
nervosa can cause various types of medical complications. These complications
happen in numerous parts of the body such as cardiovascular, endocrine and
metabolic, dermatologic, hematologic, gastrointestinal, neurologic, ophthalmic,
and pulmonary. In the cardiovascular area, 95% of those who suffer from
anorexia nervosa, are found to have bradycardia, which is a condition where one
has a slow heart rate of under 60 beats per minute. Another cardiac condition,
a person with anorexia nervosa can have is hypotension. If the anorexia nervosa
is treated properly, the low blood pressure, and heart rate will increase to
normal levels. Abnormalities in the cardiac structure, including the size of
the left ventricular decreases.  These
types of abnormalities can cause chest pains, rapid heart beating, and
fluttering. More severe conditions include mitral valve, refeeding syndrome,
and sudden death or arrhythmia, where the heart constantly beats at an
irregular rhythm.

In
the endocrine and metabolic area, those who suffer from anorexia nervosa tend
to have increased secretion rates of cortisol, and decreased metabolic
clearance rates. With the lack of receiving the proper dietary needs, and
combined with the weight loss, it causes abnormalities of glucose metabolism,
and hypoglycemia. Diabetes and anorexia nervosa have been associated with one
another but never fully connected. If the two disorders co-exist, it
complicates the treatment of refeeding, and increases the mortality risk. Sex hormones
are also affected in patients of anorexia nervosa. Their low levels of hormones
including hypothalamic gonadotropin releasing hormone, pituitary luteinizing, testosterone,
and estrogen affect potency, fertility and bone density.

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