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Health and Disease

Eating Disorders

More than 30 million people living in the US will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders are psychological conditions that are related to tenacious eating habits that harm your health. Eating disorders could negatively impact your heart, bones, digestive system, and bones.

By Nitin Beeram

Published 7:30 PM EST, Wed March 31, 2021

Introduction

Factors such as psychological, behavioral, biological, emotional, and social cause eating disorders. Eating disorders have different symptoms. The most common symptoms are the restriction of food, food binges, and purging behaviors. One research showed that if one twin had an eating disorder, there was a 50% chance that the other twin would get it too. The chance of developing this disorder is more common in adolescents, although it could develop at any age. According to a research study, 13% of youth might face at least one eating disorder by age 20. The six common eating disorders are Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Binge eating disorder, Pica, Rumination Disorder, and Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (AFRID). 

Anorexia Nervosa

 Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder distinguished as unusual low body weight, a mass gain of weight, and warped perception of weight or shape. This type of eating disorder could negatively damage your body. People usually tend to have this eating disorder during their young adulthood. This eating disorder affects women more than men. The general symptoms of anorexia nervosa are the restriction of eating different types of food, heavy influence of body weight, fear of gaining weight, and being underweight compared to other people. Generally, people who have anorexia nervosa constantly think about food, and some may take it further by collecting recipes or even storing food. Anorexia nervosa can damage the body by leading to the thinning of bones, brittle hair, and, in some extreme cases, death

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is another type of eating disorder. This is when people tend to eat large amounts of food in short time periods but later vomit out the food. This type of eating disorder usually develops during people’s early childhood to early adulthood. Common symptoms of bulimia nervosa include fear of gaining weight, being distracted with body weight/shape, and extreme dehydration. People who have bulimia nervosa will binge on food secretly, usually in large amounts, and won’t stop eating until they are painfully full. They cannot really control how much food they eat. After eating, people with bulimia nervosa will try to purge the calories and prevent weight gain through the use of laxatives, self-vomiting, and fasting. Due to the fact that bulimia nervosa is associated with self-image, it is quite difficult for people to overcome this eating disorder. In more extreme cases bulimia nervosa can create a variation of electrolytes which could lead to a stroke or a heart attack. 

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder is a type of eating disorder in which you eat too much and can’t control how much you are eating. This is one of the most common eating disorders among people. Generally, people with this eating disorder eat a huge quantity of food in a small amount of time. After binge eating, they feel embarrassed and ashamed because of the amount of food they ate. They don’t use methods such as exercising and or purging to compensate for the binge. Common symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder are consuming large quantities of food quickly, lack of control when binge-eating, and the feeling of guilt. Typically, people with this eating disorder tend to be obese, overweight, or normal weight. Some health problems that binge eating disorder could lead to are heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a stroke. 

Pica

Pica is an eating disorder where a person tends to eat things that are not food. A person with this eating disorder might eat items such as ice, dirt, soap, and chalk. This eating disorder can develop when you are young, an adolescent, or in your adulthood. Generally, this disorder is more common in children, pregnant women, and people with mental disabilities. Some possible symptoms of Pica are gut injuries, poisoning, and infections. 

Rumination Disorder

 This is an eating disorder in which a person vomits food that they had previously swallowed and then re-chews it. They will also spit the food out. This usually happens within at least 30 minutes after eating a meal. This is a relatively new eating disorder. People can get rumination disorder during their childhood, infancy, or even in adulthood. Therapy is used when treating this condition. Some symptoms of this eating disorder include weight loss and severe malnutrition in infants if the problem is not settled

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

This is an eating disorder where a person does not have an interest in eating, thus not meeting their minimal daily nutrition intake. People with this eating disorder don’t eat particular types of food related to sensory characteristics such as taste, smell, and color. Gaining weight is not a reason why people restrict how much they eat. People tend to develop this disorder more during infancy or childhood but could also develop in adulthood. Some symptoms of AFRID are the restriction of food, weight loss, and failure to gain weight.  

Nitin Beeram, Youth Medical Journal 2021

References

Eating disorders—Symptoms and causes. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 4, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eating-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20353603

6 Common Types of Eating Disorders (and Their Symptoms). (2019, October 30). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/common-eating-disorders

By Nitin Beeram

Hello, my name is Nitin Beeram. I am currently a sophomore in high school. Some of my favorite hobbies are playing video games, reading, books, and watching tv shows. I am really passionate about science. I am interested in the fields of neurology and cardiology.

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