Monday, February 25, 2013

Eating Disorder

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By Nurse Diane

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.  This was a song by Karen Carpenter.  30 years ago, on February 4th she died from complications from Anorexia.  At that time, there wasn't alot known about this illness, but has since become studied and more has been learned about this disease in the hopes of preventing further deaths from this disorder.  People with eating disorders have a distorted view of their own bodies.
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They strive to be thin at the risk of endangering their lives.  I was reading that this is a particularly difficult time for some with all the television awards programs.  People who view these programs with all the movie stars in beautiful dresses want to look that way too.  Bulimia is another eating disorder where the person binge eats then forces vomiting, takes laxatives and diuretics to remove the food that was just consumed.
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Anorexia nervosa is characterized by:

Extreme thinness (emaciation);
A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight;
Intense fear of gaining weight;
Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight;
Lack of menstruation among girls and women’ and or
Extremely restricted eating.

Some other signs to look for if you suspect a person may have anorexia are:

Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
Brittle hair and nails
Dry and yellowish skin
Growth of fine hair all over the body (lanugo)
Mild anemia and muscle wasting and weakness
Severe constipation
Low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
Damage to the structure and function of the heart
Brain damage
Multi-organ failure
Drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time

Signs of Bulimia include:

Chronically inflamed and sore throat
Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
Worn tooth enamel, increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid
Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems
Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
Severe dehydration from purging of fluids
Electrolyte imbalance (too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals) which can lead to heart attack.

Treatment for these disorders include:

Restoring the person to a healthy weight;
Treating the psychological issues related to the eating disorder;
Reducing or eliminating behaviors or thoughts that lead to insufficient eating and preventing relapse;
Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy;
Medical care and monitoring;
Nutritional counseling; and or

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  The campaign slogan is everybody knows somebody.  If you know someone or suspect someone has an eating disorder, check out this site and learn more ways to help them.


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