Physical Effects of Anorexia Nervosa

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Eating disorders are plaguing the world today. People are obsessing over body image so immensely that many are turning to excessive eating disorders in an attempt to solve their emotional unbalance. Anorexia Nervosa is one of these fatal illnesses.

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This disorder can be distinguished by immoderate exercise and fear of gaining weight, which most often leads to extreme weight loss. The physical effects of Anorexia Nervosa can be detrimental to a person’s health and cause many problems in bodily functions presently and in the future.
Osteopenia is one of the negative outcomes Anorexia Nervosa can have on an individual’s health. This occurs when the body is malnourished and cannot produce bone as quickly, therefore, causing a deficiency in bone mass. Bones store the majority of calcium intake, therefore, bone strength is decreased when the body is not receiving enough of this nutrient. If a person’s diet is calcium deficient, bones will be robbed of calcium to maintain normal blood levels for vital functions, said Meghan Slattery, Eating Disorders Catalog (2018). This can lead to a decline in mineralization and bone loss.

Bone loss can also be largely affected by hormones, especially estrogen. The body responds to a starved state by conserving resources when possible, e.g. limiting reproduction by minimizing production of estrogen and of certain hormones that regulate ovarian production of estrogen (2018). This causes minimal or sporadic menstrual cycles and bone loss. Bone formation is another part of bone density that is largely stimulated by another nutritionally regulated hormone, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) (2018). When the body is being repressed from the necessary nutrients it needs, bone density is reduced dramatically.

In an article from Oxford Academic, Pouneh K Fazeli and Anne Klibanski state that, alterations in the rate of bone formation during adolescence may have lifelong impact with respect to bone structure and fragility (2018).

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