Eating Disorder: Types, Risk Factors, and Consequences

Overeating effects

In the current living style and circumstances, most people are suffering from an eating disorder. They couldn’t recognize their health issues too. This post provides you with a better understanding of eating disorder, types of eating disorder associated with the risk factors and the consequences of having this disorder.

What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorder is both physical and mental illness which is characterized by one’s abnormal eating habit like having too much or too little in order to maintain his/her weight and body shape. This affects people of all age, gender, and socioeconomic group. Eating disorder leads to several health consequences which make you ill.

Types of Eating Disorder

There are several types that vary from person to person depending on their age and gender.

  • Anorexia Nervosa

This type of eating disorder limits the intake of food which results in lacking weight for the growing kids. It is also known as anorexia. People with this disorder have fear of gaining weight so they indulge themselves in starving and purging behaviors like vomiting, using laxatives and undergoing compulsive exercises to reduce their weight even when they are thin.

This condition is usually seen during the adolescent period, mainly girls. Anorexia nervosa takes you to the life-threatening consequences. The person affected by this eating disorder may experience mood and anxiety disorders, bone thinning, heart or multi-organ failure, brittle nails and hair. Thus leading to hair loss, insomnia, weakness, irregular periods for girls and infertility.

  • Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is another type of eating disorder and it is a well-known type. Here, the persons will eat too much food and finally it is followed by fasting and purging activities in order to compensate for their overconsumption of food.

Bulimia occurs mainly during the late teenage period and early adulthood. Women are most likely to suffer from this type of eating disorder. Here the affected persons maintain their normal weight.

Sometimes, they engage in binging (having excessive food at a short period of time) so that they lose their control to limit their food intake and at the end they purge. This may cause sore throat, worn tooth enamel, gut irritation, dehydration, an imbalance in the body’s electrolyte level which can cause stroke, hormonal disturbances. 

People with bulimia can experience fluctuations in their weight and also have mental issues such as depression, drug abuse, self-injurious behaviors, anxiety, etc.,

  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

It is considered to be the most common one in the States. Here the person with this disorder will consume large quantities of food in a short period of time, regardless of not feeling hungry and also they will lose their control during the episodes of a binge. Later, they will be in distress and have a guilty feeling.

They even won’t look into the countervailing measures for binge eating like restricting calories, excessive exercise and purging behaviors. Adolescents and early adulthood are most likely to be affected with this eating disorder.

People with binge eating disorder often have the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and psychological disorders like depression, anxiety and they feel boredom and worried.

  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

OSFED is the other most common type of disorder. Here the individuals crave for substances like chalk, soil, paper, soap, laundry detergent, ice, corn starch, etc.,

Both children and adolescents are more prone to this type of disorder. Persons with OSFED may get infections, nutritional deficiencies, poisoning, and sometimes it may be lethal that depends on the ingestion of the substances. 

  •  Rumination Disorder

This is a newly identified eating disorder. Rumination disorder is characterized by the regurgitation of food which has been swallowed before 30 minutes. Here the person re-chews the regurgitated food and neither swallows nor spits the food out. 

You can see this disorder for infants between three to 12 months that disappears later. If it’s not resolved, its mandatory to have a proper treatment to resolve the condition as it results in malnutrition and weight loss.

  • Avoidant or Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Individuals possess this type of disorder stick to a narrow range of food items. They refuse food based on the color, taste, odor, texture, etc., This leads to malnutrition, weight loss associated with inadequate growth. Children and adults are susceptible to restrictive food intake disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Having Eating Disorders

It is really a tough thing to identify the eating disorder. There are certain signs and symptoms which seem to be associated with this problem. These symptoms help you to recognize the disorder so that it lends a hand to come out of this issue.

Caution signs include:

  • Drastic weight loss.
  • Having a high quantity of food in a short period of time.
  • Splitting the food into small segments and consuming it very slowly.
  • Eating too fast.
  • Often moving to the bathroom after eating.
  • Undergoing heavy exercises.
  • Avoiding consuming food with others.
  • Lying about the quantity of food intake.
  • Wearing unfit and loose clothes in order to hide weight loss.

Symptoms of Eating Disorders Include:

Here are the symptoms of an eating disorder which you experience by yourself.

  • Always worrying about your weight and shape of your body.
  • Sticking to the purging activities. 
  • Excessive exercise.
  • Following strict food routines.
  • Trying to have little quantity of food.
  • Facing digestion problems.
  • Feeling tired and weak.
  • Irregular periods for girls.

Be aware of these signs and symptoms that help you to do away with the eating disorder.

Risk Factors of Eating Disorder

No one is clear with the exact reason for this disorder but there certain biological and psychological risk factors which engage you to suffer this problem. These factors diverse from person to person that includes:

  • Depression or drug addiction.
  • The familial trait of having an eating disorder.
  • Having low self-esteem.
  • Your personality (obesity).
  • Job oriented (models, artist and athletes).
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Over concerned with your body shape.
  • Dieting history and following weight-reduction protocol.
  • Suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • Being a perfectionist.
  • Having anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Behavioral inflexibility of following a strict routine.
  • Being teased for their appearance and personality.
  • Loneliness and having fewer friends and social support.

These are the behavioral, psychological and socio-environmental risk factors which force you to acquire this disorder.

Eating Disorder Consequences

People with an eating disorder encounter many health consequences which are even fatal.

1.  There will be a drop in pulse and blood pressure that increases the risk of heart failure. This happens due to the malnourished heart which has lower energy/fuel to pump the blood because of the consumption of fewer calories.

2. The purging behaviors lead to the depletion of electrolytes in your body that cause irregular heartbeat, finally heart failure and death.

3. Often you can face gastrointestinal problems which include bloating, weakening of intestinal muscles, stomach ache, infections, constipation, etc.,

4. Binge eating can cause rupture of the stomach, a life-threatening consequence.

5. Inadequate nutrition makes you weak even to propel the digested food out of your body.

6. Periodic vomiting can cause rupture of esophagus, sore throat and swell over the parotid gland in front of the ears.

7. Hormonal imbalance brings about bone loss (osteoporosis) leading to bone fracture. 

8. Lack of adequate fat and calories in your diet can lower the production of sex hormones that can cause irregular menstruation.

9. The person with binge eating disorder become resistant to insulin that leads to Type 2 Diabetes.

10. Electrolyte imbalance can cause seizures and cramps.

11. The neurological problem includes numbness and tingling sensation in hands, feet, and other extremities.

Besides these health issues, people may also experience hair loss, dry skin, kidney failure, decrease in blood cell count leading to anemia and makes you prone to infections.

By getting a good knowledge of eating disorder and its consequences, it is advisable not to underestimate yourself. Love yourself for what you are and be happy with your life!

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