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Medical Article

Fact behind eating disorders

Eating disorders are a type of mental illness that cause severe disturbance to a person’s eating behaviour. This habit often results in excessive weight loss or weight gain. Obsessions with food, body weight and shape may also signal in eating disorder. It is most chronic in female, and 15% of women experience it at least once in their lifetime. Common eating disorders include anorexia, nervosa, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. This condition is prominent in the younger age and currently affects 70 million people around the world.

Causes of eating disorders

The exact cause of eating disorders are still unknown, it is believed that a combination of biological, psychological and environmental abnormalities contribute to its development. The most prominent cause of eating disorders includes:

Genetic: There is some evidence that eating disorders have a genetic basis, but the biological causes are still not well understood. The genes that are causing this disorder are currently on research.

Psychological: The Psychological factors like negative body image, poor self-esteem, insecure feeling, and perfectionism may cause eating disorders.

Social: Evidence shows that socio-cultural influences play a significant role in the development of eating disorders.  Cultural pressures that glorify thinness, body shape and size, advertisements of skinny models, dieting habits, sexual abuse can trigger eating disorders.

Types of eating disorders

There are several types of eating disorders that vary from person to person and are classified as:

Anorexia Nervosa:  It is a serious eating disorder characterized by self-starvation, intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”, extreme concern with body weight and shape. This type of disorder various from person to person.  Both men and women can develop this disorder, but most common in females.

Symptoms:  Missing meals, eating very little, excessive exercise, hair loss or dry skin, anxiety, depression, lack of menstruation in girls are the signs.

Complications: Anaemia, intestinal problems, kidney failure, osteoporosis, heart problems

Bulimia Nervosa :  Bulimia Nervosa is a serious, life threatening eating disorder. It is characterised by repeated episodes of binge eating. People with bulimia lose control and eat lots of food in a shorter period. After binging, they feel ashamed on body shape or weight and start purging by dieting, laxatives or vomiting to control their weight.