Women's Diet: The Physical Red Flags of Eating Disorders
From hair loss to infertility, the internal damage inflicted on the body by eating disorders leaves its marks on the outside too
But let's be clear: There is a big difference between dieting and suffering from an eating disorder.
Eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, are not crash diets; they are serious medical illnesses with underlying psychological issues. Anorexics, for example, have an intense fear of fat and of gaining weight. In addition to severely restricting their food intake, they may exercise obsessively; abuse diet pills, laxatives and diuretics; and/or self-induce vomiting.
And, bulimics, like anorexics, may have distorted body images and a pre-occupation with food. But bulimia is often characterized by repeated cycles of bingeing and purging: Sufferers will eat large amounts of food in a short period of time and then seek to somehow "undo" the damage of the binge, either through vomiting, laxatives or diuretics.
Researchers believe that there are myriad biological, psychological and societal factors that may trigger and shape eating disorders and that they often go hand-in-hand with other psychiatric ailments, such as depression or anxiety. And, while eating disorders are treatable, like any other severe illness, they take a toll on the body.
Learn what the physical red flags of eating disorders are.
How prevalent a concern is this? According to the National Eating Disorders Association, in the United States alone, nearly 10 million women (and one million men) are battling an eating disorder. The damage that these eating disorders can inflict will scare you. At least we hope it will.
If you're ready to see what happens to the human body -- inside and out -- when it is denied the nutrients it needs, read on.
Let's start at the top, literally, with hair...
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