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What are the signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa? What are the risk factors involved?

Anorexia is medically known as anorexia nervosa.
• It is an eating disorder.
• It mainly affects mainly girls or women.
• Anorexia can be simply defined as less appetite or sometimes disliking towards the food due to one or the other reason.

Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

• Refusal to maintain a normal body mass index for their age.
• Amenorrhea, the absence of three consecutive menstrual cycles.
• Fearful of even the slightest weight gain.
• Takes all precautionary measures to avoid weight gain and becoming overweight.
• Obvious, rapid, dramatic weight loss.
• Lanugo: soft, fine hair growing on the face and body.
• Obsession with calories and fat content of food.
• Preoccupation with food, recipes, or cooking.
• May cook elaborate dinners for others, but not eat the food themselves.
• Dieting despite being thin or dangerously underweight.
• Cuts food into tiny pieces.
• Refuses to eat around others.
• Hides or discards food.
• May engage in self-induced vomiting.
• May run to the bathroom after eating in order to vomit and quickly get rid of the calories.
• May engage in frequent, strenuous exercise.
• Perception of self to be overweight despite being told by others they are too thin and, in most cases, underweight.
• Becomes intolerant to cold.
• Frequently complains of being cold from loss of insulating body fat or poor circulation resulting from extremely low blood pressure.
• Body temperature lowers (hypothermia) in effort to conserve energy.
• Depression: may frequently be in a sad, lethargic state.
• Solitude: may avoid friends and family; becomes withdrawn and secretive.
• Cheeks may become swollen because of enlargement of the salivary glands caused by excessive vomiting.
• Swollen joints.
• Abdominal distension.
• Bad breath (from vomiting or starvation-induced ketosis).
• Hair loss or thinning.
• Fatigue.

Purging
– uses laxatives
– diet pills
– ipecac syrup
– water pills

Risk Factors Involved in Anorexia Nervosa

Certain risk factors increase the risk of anorexia, including:
1. Being female
• Anorexia is more common in girls and women.
• However, boys and men have been increasingly developing eating disorders.
• This is because of growing social pressures.

2. A young age
• Anorexia is more common among teenagers.
• People of any age can develop this eating disorder. It’s rare in people older than 40.
• Teenagers may be more susceptible as their bodies undergo a change during puberty.
• They also may face increased peer pressure.
• They may be more sensitive to criticism or even casual comments about weight or body shape.

3. Genetics
• Changes in certain genes may make people more susceptible to anorexia nervosa.

4. Family history
• Those with a first-degree relative — a parent, sibling or child are at high risk.

5. Weight changes
• When people lose or gain weight, those changes may be reinforced by positive or by negative comments.
• Such changes and comments may trigger someone to start dieting to an extreme.

6. Transitions
• Whether it’s a new school, home or job, a relationship breakup, or the death or illness of a loved one, change can bring emotional stress
Sports, work and artistic activities.
• Athletes, actors and television personalities, dancers, and models are at higher risk of anorexia.
• Sports associated with anorexia include running, wrestling, figure skating and gymnastics.
• Coaches and parents may inadvertently raise the risk by suggesting that young athletes lose weight.

7. Media and society
• The media, such as television and fashion magazines, frequently feature a parade of skinny models and actors.

Anorexia Nervosa Treatment Manual for Anorexia Nervosa Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder

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