Genetics and social attitudes toward body appearance may play a role. Some experts have suggested that conflicts within a family ay contribute to this eating disorder. (http://www. Ml. NIH. Gob/midlines/ once/article/000362. HTML 2009) Although the precise causes of anorexia nervous are unknown, we do know that it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Scientists have studied the role of personality, genetics, environment, and biochemistry of people with these illnesses.
Certain personality traits common in persons with anorexia nervous are perfectionism, neurotics (anxiety-proneness), low self-esteem, and social isolation (which usually occurs after the behavior associated with anorexia nervous begins).
Many people who develop anorexia nervous had been good students and athletes. (http://www. Name. Org/ Template. CFML? Section=By_illness&template=/ContentManagement/ 2009) * At this time, no definite cause of anorexia nervous has been determined. However, research within the medical and psychological fields continues to explore possible causes.
Some experts feel that demands from society and families could possibly be underlying causes for anorexia.
For many individuals with anorexia, the destructive cycle begins with the pressure to be thin and attractive. A poor self-image compounds the problem. (http://WV. Medicine. Mom/ * “It has long been recognized that no single specific event or situation causes anorexia nervous. As with many other illnesses, a combination of vulnerabilities and circumstances is necessary for it to become manifest. ” ( Oxford University Press. 004. ) “No one knows exactly how or why and eating disorder occurs. We do know that there is no single reason for someone to develop one of these illnesses, and we know that eating disorders are not about food. The thoughts and behaviors having to do with eating, weight, and body image are symptoms Of deeper psychological conflicts and issues that drive the eating disordered behavior. ” ( Yale University Press. 2003) * Effects of Anatomy/Physiology * (http://www. Medicine. Com/anorexia_nervous/page. Tm#tock 2009) * Heart and circulatory system: Although not life-threatening, an abnormally slow heart rate (brickyard) and unusually low blood pressure (hypertension) are frequent manifestations of starvation and are commonly associated with anorexia. Of greater significance are disturbances in the heart rhythm (arrhythmia). A reduction in the work capacity of the heart is associated with severe weight loss and starvation. * Gastrointestinal complications are also associated with anorexia. Constipation and abdominal pain are the most common symptoms.
The rate at which food is absorbed into the body is slowed down. Starvation and overuse of laxatives can seriously disrupt the body’s normal functions involved in the elimination process. While liver function is generally found to be normal, there is evidence of changes in enzyme levels and overall damage to the liver. * The glandular (endocrine) system in the body is profoundly affected by anorexia. The complex physical and chemical processes involved in the maintenance of life can be disrupted, with serious consequences.
Disturbances in the menstrual cycle are frequent, and secondary amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) affects about 90% of adolescent girls with anorexia. Menstrual period typically return with weight gain and successful treatment. Hormonal imbalances are found in men with anorexia as well. Continual restrictive eating can trick the thyroid into thinking that the body is starving, causing it to slow down in an attempt to preserve calories. * Kidney (renal) function may appear normal.
However, there are significant changes in kidney function in many people with anorexia, resulting n potassium deficiency, increased urination, or decreased urination. * Bone density loss (Estonian or thinning of the bones) is a significant complication of anorexia, since women acquire 40%-60% of their bone mass during adolescence. Studies have shown that bone loss can occur fairly rapidly in girls with anorexia. While some studies have shown that bone density may be restored if overall health improves and anorexia is successfully treated, other studies suggest that an increased risk for fracture may persist later in life. Anorexics who use a large quantity of laxatives or who frequently omit are at great risk for electrolyte imbalance, which can have life- threatening consequences. * Anemia is frequently found in anorexic patients. Suppressed immunity and a high risk for infection are suspected but not clinically proven. * Physical symptoms, other than the obvious loss of weight, can be seen. Anorexia can cause dry, flaky skin that takes on a yellow tinge. Fine, downy hair grows on the face, back, arms, and legs. Despite this new hair growth, loss of hair on the head is not uncommon. Nails can become brittle.
Frequent vomiting can erode dental enamel and eventually lead to tooth loss. * (http://www. Aim. Org/Template. CFML? Section=By_illness=/ Counterargument/Constituencies. CFML=7409 2009) The starvation experienced by persons with anorexia nervous can cause damage to vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, and brain. Pulse rate and blood pressure drop, and people suffering from this illness may experience irregular heart rhythms or heart failure. Nutritional deprivation along with purging causes electrolyte abnormalities such as low potassium and low sodium.
Nutritional deprivation also leads to calcium loss from bones, which can become brittle and prone to breakage (osteoporosis). Nutritional deprivation also leads to decreased brain volume. In the worst-case scenario, people with anorexia can starve themselves to death. Anorexia nervous has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. The most frequent causes of death are suicide and complications of the malnutrition associated with the disorder. * The hallmark of anorexia nervous is a preoccupation with food and a refusal to maintain minimally normal body weight.
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