Anorexia Nervosa, Effect on Health

Anorexia NervosaAnorexia Nervosa is one of the psychiatric eating disorders that are characterized as denial to maintain a minimal normal body weight on the BMI chart. Patients with Anorexia Nervosa have a body weight that is 85% less than the expected average for their height, weight and age. In the Western societies most diagnosed patients are female who are fearful of weight gain. These patients typically count every calorie and every ounce they put in their mouth. Induced vomiting, bing-eating, and excessive exercise are some of the disturbed behaviors this population engages in. It is common for someone with an eating disorder to be very critical of his or her weight and commonly describe themselves by their body image. Many teenagers between the ages of 14-19 that experience anorexia nervosa, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association have 5% death rate per decade. How to distinguish this group of people from the rest is through their disturbed self-portraits. Some mental factors include: obsession of food, excessive diet and exercise, irritable behavior, moody, isolated, females tend to have amenorrhea. A patient with a BMI of <17.5kg/m 2 is at great risk and needs immediate help.
Patients that have Anorexia Nervosa have other health complications, such as constipation, reduced gastric emptying, hair loss, and vomiting, weak immunity. Abnormal lab values will show low plasma glucose level, elevated serum cholesterol, low THS, low serum sodium (hyponatremia) due to excess water consumption, and reduced bone mineral density. Once the bone mineral density is at low levels it is hard to get it back up to its peak. Anorexia Nervosa patients often look wrinkled, weak and old for their age, and their bones are visible.
Nutrition therapy should be about 0.5 to 1.0lb per week and patients should be monitored during feeding. Mirrors should be removed and make sure their foods are swallowed. Do not force feed; instead encourage them to want to eat. Vitamin D and calcium are essential for this population to restore their bone density as much as possible. Any further weight loss should be prevented. Electrolyte depletion should be monitored because this will indicate a refeeding syndrome, which a patient might experience.

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