Bulimia Facts - Overview of Deadly Eating
Bulimia nervosa, commonly called bulimia, is an eating disorder
that is often misdiagnosed or missed altogether. It is most common among young
females, although both males and females of any age, race, or demographic may
struggle with any eating disorder. There are many signs and symptoms of bulimia.
It is important to understand that if you believe you struggle with bulimia or
any of its symptoms, you should talk with someone you trust and ask them to help
you get the medical attention you need.
The warning signs of bulimia
- Preoccupation with food
- Frequent overeating,
especially when distressed
- Excessive concern about weight
Strict dieting followed by eating binges
- Binging on high-calorie,
- Feeling out of control
- Depressive moods
Planning binges or opportunities to binge
- Leaving for the bathroom
after meals (to purge)
- Being secretive about binges or vomiting
Vomiting after binging
- Overuse of laxatives, diuretics, diet pills,
or exercise to "control" weight
- Denial of hunger
Use of drugs to induce vomiting
- Swollen salivary glands, damaged
teeth, gastroesophageal reflux
- Broken blood vessels in eyes
nervosa (BN) is a medical diagnosis. People diagnosed with BN meet the following
- Binge eating - eating a large amount of food in a small
amount of time with the feeling that you can't stop or control it, with physical
or emotional distress.
- Purging - compensation via vomiting, laxatives,
water pills, starvation, exercise, etc.
- Binging & purging more
than 2 times per week for at least 3 months.
- Body dissatisfaction
- self-evaluation and self esteem overly influenced by weight and shape.
Weight can be normal, overweight, or underweight. Large weight swings can be a
To be diagnosed with BN, a person must meet all of the
above criteria. However, it is important to note that if a person does not have
an eating disorder it does not mean that he or she does not have disordered eating.
You can have disordered eating without having an eating disorder.
are many complications resulting from bulimia nervosa, including mental disorders,
digestive conditions, and heart conditions. The following are conditions resulting
from BN behaviors:
- Difficulty concentrating/focusing
even at a young age
- Increased risk of stress fractures (broken bones)
- Thyroid abnormalities
- Low energy/fatigue
Impaired body temperature regulation - low body temp.
- Hair thinning
and/or falling out from the head
- Tooth enamel erosion, loss of teeth,
and/or gum disease
- Puffy cheeks - swollen salivary glands from vomiting
Erosion of digestive linings from mouth to intestines (irritation due to vomiting
- Rupture of the esophagus - can lead to circulatory
collapse and death
- Gastric rupture due to severe binge eating
Slowing of the digestive tract due to restrictive eating
constipation and irregular bowel movements
- Slow, irregular pulse
Low blood pressure
- Dizziness and faintness
- Heart arrhythmias
- Cardiac arrest (heart attack)
longer that a person continues in disordered eating behaviors, the more his or
her mortality rate increases. These effects can be long-lasting, but it is important
to know that one can fully recover from bulimia.
It is crucial to seek medical
attention as soon as possible. Do not feel guilty about what you should have noticed
in the past. Move forward and get help to prevent further detrimental effects
of this disease. A person with bulimia nervosa will need to be on an extensive
treatment plan involving a medical doctor, psychiatrist/psychologist, and registered
dietitian. With proper medical attention and support of family and friends, a
full recovery can be achieved.