Complications of Anorexia
If anorexia nervosa is not treated, the condition can lead to numerous serious health problems.In some cases, the condition can even be fatal. Long-term anorexia can lead to severe complications and health problems, often as a result of malnutrition. Some of these may improve as the condition is treated, but others can be permanent.
Health problems associated with anorexia include:
problems with muscles and bones
weakness, fragile bones (osteoporosis) and problems with physical development in children and young adults
absent periods and infertility in women, and loss of sex drive and erectile dysfunction in men
problems with the heart and blood vessels
poor circulation, an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, heart valve disease, heart failure and swelling in the feet, hands or face (oedema)
problems with the brain and nerves
seizures (fits) and difficulties with concentration and memory
kidney damage, liver damage, anaemia and low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
Some people with anorexia can go on to develop another eating disorder called bulimia nervosa. This is where a person binge eats then immediately makes themselves sick or uses laxatives to rid their body of the food.
If you have anorexia and are pregnant, you will need to be monitored closely during pregnancy and after you have given birth.
Anorexia during pregnancy can increase the risk of problems such as:
giving birth early (premature birth)
having a baby with low birth weight
need for caesarean section
You are also likely to need extra care and support during pregnancy if you have previously had anorexia and recovered from it.
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