By Dietitian Nazira
Ever heard of anorexia nervosa or bulimia? Both anorexia and bulimia are categorized as eating disorder. While some might have thought that eating disorder is just a lifestyle choice, it goes deeper and more serious than what it seems. Associated and related with thought and emotion, improper treatment of eating disorder may lead to fatalities.
What is eating disorder?
Eating disorders are compilation of physiological condition that cause unusual eating behaviour developed in individual. Obsession or full insecurities towards own body type or shape, body weight and food might be the initial cause of the problem.
Sign and symptom
There are varieties of sign for eating disorder including severe restriction of food, binge eating and purging behaviours like vomiting or overexercising.
As there are wide range of eating disorder, different types of eating disorder show different symptoms including both mentally and physically, but each condition involves an extreme focus on issues related to food and eating, and some involve an extreme focus on weight.
- Refuses to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, etc.)
- Makes frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss
- Complains of constipation, abdominal pain, cold intolerance, lethargy, and/or excess energy
- Denies feeling hungry
- Develops food rituals (e.g., eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on a plate)
- Cook meals for others without eating
- Consistently makes excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food
- Expresses a need to “burn off” calories taken in
- Maintains an excessive, rigid exercise regimen – despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury
- Withdraws from usual friends and activities and becomes more isolated, withdrawn, and secretive
- Seems concerned about eating in public
- Has limited social spontaneity
- Stomach cramps, other non-specific gastrointestinal complaints (constipation, acid reflux, etc.)
- Difficulties concentrating
- Abnormal laboratory findings (anaemia, low thyroid and hormone levels, low potassium, low blood cell counts, slow heart rate)
- Feeling cold all the time
- Sleep problems
- Menstrual irregularities—amenorrhea, irregular periods or only having a period while on hormonal contraceptives (this is not considered a “true” period)
- Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints (a result of inducing vomiting)
- Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity
- Dry skin
- Dry and brittle nails
- Swelling around area of salivary glands
- Fine hair on body (lanugo)
- Thinning of hair on head, dry and brittle hair
- Cavities, or discoloration of teeth, from vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Yellow skin (in context of eating large amounts of carrots)
- Cold, mottled hands and feet or swelling of feet
- Poor wound healing
- Impaired immune functioning