Anorexia nervosa, more commonly known simply as anorexia is an incredibly dangerous eating disorder that can strike males and females of any age. Although it can affect women and men of any age it is much more prevalent amongst teenagers, particularly girls. Some medical professionals believe that this is due to the increased pressure that is placed on girls by the media to look a certain way. And any kind of pressure can be dangerous during these formative years.
The effects of anorexia are not always easy to spot straight away if you do not know what to look for. And this is one of the reasons why it is such a dangerous illness.
There are some effects that will be more noticeable than others at first, but there are some that can go unnoticed for quite some time.
One of the first things to happen to the sufferer is that they will begin to feel incredibly cold, even in quite mild or even warm temperatures. This happens because in the early stages of anorexia the body goes into what is known as “survival mode” This is where the body detects a lack of energy input and so it conserves all of the energy for the vital organs. It does this because it thinks it will not get any more food and so it needs to survive on what it already has. And in the latter stages of anorexia the sufferer will have little or no insulating body fat to keep them warm.
The skin and the hair will be affected by anorexia. Very often the hair will become much thinner and drier, this is because all nutrition that enters the body is being rerouted to the vital organs. The skin may become yellow and dull looking and it will also become very dry.
Very often during anorexia the sufferer will experience fine hair growing all over the body. This is the body’s way of keeping itself warm.
Tiredness and weakness is a very common symptom of anorexia, but one that can be easily misdiagnosed. The sufferer becomes tired and weak due to the lack of calories and nutrition in their bodies. Lack of nutrition is also responsible for an inability to concentrate which is very common amongst anorexia sufferers.
Girls that suffer with anorexia may stop menstruating. This happens for many different reasons, the most common of which is a change in hormones due to a drastic cut in calories. This is known as Amenorrhea.