Scared Skinny

by ezeh1 on Avril 16, 2014 - 3:24pm

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself that you would do anything to be skinnier or just “look better”?  I have.  Fortunately I have been educated on healthy weight loss and know the safest and most effective ways to go about this, but most people in America are not educated on this topic.  They see problem areas and think that starvation or excessive exercise is the only answer, when in reality they are only hurting themselves. But people with an eating disorder do not care about hurting themselves because they are so scared of gaining any weight.  Unfortunately, eating disorders exist all over the world, but one of the most prevalent in America is anorexia nervosa.  It is a psychiatric disorder that causes people to change their eating behavior in order to lose weight and attain a body image that they believe is ideal.  Ideal body image is a whole different topic in itself, and this article by Blazej Meczekalski looks at multiple studies related to the medical consequences of anorexia nervosa in the United States.  These studies were done to see which side effects of anorexia were most prevalent and serious to determine where future research and funds should be put. These studies also focus on women because the lifetime prevalence rate in women is significantly higher than men (2-3% versus .24%).  Long-term consequences of this disorder can be fatal.  Nine hundred and fifty four women with anorexia nervosa were studied using physicals to gather any type of medical history, and it was predicted that they only had 36.6 years of life remaining (Meczekalski, 2013).  This fact hit hard because most of the people I see on a daily basis are around this age and it is probable that some of them struggle with an eating disorder.  The reason for this decreased life expectancy results from many of the side effects of anorexia: cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, etc.  Along with life expectancy, this study found that cardiovascular disease is prevalent in about 80% of anorexia cases, osteoporosis in 38% of cases, osteopenia in 92% of cases, and 57% of people have had a bone fracture after diagnosis of anorexia.  Perhaps the most serious side effect of anorexia nervosa is an electrolyte abnormality.  When the homeostasis of the body is off for too long it can easily shut down (Meczekalski, 2013).  The study of this disorder is so important because like I said earlier, it affects 2-3% of the women in this country and has so many side effects associated with it.  These consequences have other side effects in themselves which can lead to costly procedures.  Health insurance is not cheap, so putting some money into ways to eliminate some cases of anorexia could save the country money in the long run.  This article makes me believe that healthy weight loss and appropriate exercise education in schools could go a long way.  Especially as a general education class in college where students are more likely to take something away from the class because they are paying for it.  Classes like this could also help the increasing obesity issues affecting our country. 

The framing of the problem in this article is very clearly stated.  First of all, the title of the article is “Long-term Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa”, so you know exactly what you are going to be reading about.  The abstract also frames the definition of anorexia nervosa along with the major problems associated with it, and the article itself is divided into sections based on medical consequences (i.e. Mortality Rates, Cardiovascular Disease, etc.), so finding a specific issue is easy.  The problems given are completely unbiased and based on scientific data.  There is no judgment happening towards people with this disorder.  This disorder is very complicated because of all the associated issues, but this article does a very good job at separating the issues and specifically mentioning how they are all related to anorexia and sometimes how they are related to each other.  For example, some people with anorexia nervosa will purge after eating which can cause gastrointestinal issues as well as rotted teeth from the constant contact with gastrointestinal fluids.  The purpose of this study was to show people just how serious this disorder is and this is accomplished with scientific facts and prevalence rates.  The problem at hand is completely significant and realistic considering that most people, whether they know it or not, have probably known someone with an eating disorder.  People with anorexia nervosa, as well as other eating disorders, need to be looked at as people with a serious disorder that can be helped, rather than someone with “their own problem” who is an embarrassment. With prevalence rates this high in such a costly issue, more effort needs to be done to help end this disorder.  

 

References

Meczekalski, B. (2013). Long-term consequences of anorexia nervosa. Maturitas, 75, 215-220.

            Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2013.04.014

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