What is Anorexia?

Anorexia is also known as anorexia nervosa. This condition is often associated with excessive weight loss, is mainly seen in women, and can take a huge toll on a person's physical and mental health.

1. What is Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. What is eating disorder? These are serious, complex mental illnesses that come with physical and mental health complications. This condition is characterized by disturbances in thinking, behavior, and sensations about the patient's weight, body shape, food, or eating habits. This article does not focus on explaining what eating disorders are, but mainly focuses on issues related to Anorexia - anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia is a condition in which the patient excessively restricts food intake and has irrational fears about weight gain and changes in body shape. This condition is common in women. If it lasts too long without proper treatment, anorexia nervosa can easily lead to excessive weight loss, causing serious damage to the patient's physical and mental health.
Characteristic of Anorexia is low body weight, inappropriate eating habits, fear of weight gain and obsession with having a thin body. Patients often consider themselves too fat, repeating other obsessive actions to make sure they stay thin. Due to fear of weight gain, Anorexia patients often restrict their food, leading to metabolic and hormonal disorders. Patients may experience dizziness, headaches, drowsiness and lack of energy or face many other serious complications.

2. Symptoms of Anorexia

Anorexia usually begins in childhood (formerly 13 - 17 years old, now 9 - 12 years old). The sick person feels hungry but they only eat very little. The average caloric intake of a person with anorexia nervosa is 600-800 calories/day. In some cases, they can fast completely. This is a serious mental illness with a high mortality rate.
Typical symptoms of Anorexia in female patients include:
Menstrual irregularities, loss of 3 consecutive menstrual cycles; Rapidly significant weight loss; Soft hair growth on the face and body (one theory is that this is related to thyroid function); Always obsessed with calories and fat in food; Pay attention to food, cooking, can cook for others but do not eat food that you cook yourself; Always think that you are overweight, maintain your diet even though you are dangerously thin or underweight; Cut food into small pieces, use laxatives, diet pills or induce vomiting after eating; Regular exercise with very high intensity; Frequent colds due to fat loss or having very low blood pressure, low body temperature (hypothermia); Depression, loneliness, not wanting to see friends and family; The cheek area may be swollen due to the enlargement of the salivary glands (due to excessive vomiting); Swollen joints; Bloating, bad breath, fatigue, hair loss, mood swings; Addiction to alcohol and stimulants; Skin signs: Hyperpigmentation, dermatitis, skin itching, erythema, ...

3. Causes of Anorexia

Anorexia disease (anorexia nervosa) is often caused by causes such as:
Genetically related, environmental influences change gene expression. There are many neurotransmitters that are linked to anorexia; It has been hypothesized that anorexia is a response to a streptococcal or mycoplasma infection. In addition, zinc deficiency is also the cause of loss of appetite; Cultural factors: Many places consider the standard of beauty in women to have a slim, well-proportioned body. People with a full figure often suffer a lot of stigma. An epidemiological study has shown that ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status have a great influence on anorexia; Other factors: Children of sexually abused people often suffer from anorexia; 23% of people with long-term eating disorders are autistic.

4. Complications of Anorexia

Some complications can be encountered in people with anorexia nervosa:
Diarrhea, constipation; Water and electrolyte disorders: Hyponatremia and hypokalemia, tooth loss, tooth decay, cardiac arrest, edema, brain atrophy, osteoporosis, leukopenia; If Anorexia appears early, lasts long and is severe, it can affect height growth, weight loss and chronic malnutrition, hypogonadism, delayed puberty. Fatty liver is also a manifestation of malnutrition in children; Heart disease and arrhythmias, neurological disorders (convulsions, tremors); Other complications: Muscle damage, paralysis, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder,...

5. Treatment of Anorexia

If anorexia nervosa is not treated, serious complications such as heart disease and kidney failure can occur, become increasingly serious, and even lead to death. Up to 6% of Anorexia patients die from heart and kidney disease.
The treatment of the disease needs to solve 3 main problems including:
Restore the right weight; Treatment of psychological disorders related to Anorexia; Reduce or eliminate thoughts and behaviors that lead to eating disorders. Diet is the most important factor to be corrected in patients with anorexia nervosa. The diet needs to be tailored to the needs of each patient. Some notes include:
Zinc supplements also bring positive effects in the treatment of diseases; Patients need to be provided with adequate energy during meals: Provide 1,200 - 1,500 calories/day, increase by 500 calories/day. This process should continue until calorie intake reaches 4,000 in male patients and 3,500 in female patients; Supplementation of DHA and EPA fatty acids is beneficial for neuropsychiatric disorders in patients; Use vitamins and fluids for the patient if necessary. In addition, Olanzapine can be used to treat a number of problems in patients with anorexia nervosa, including increasing body weight and reducing obsessions. At the same time, cognitive behavioral therapy has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of Anorexia.
Anorexia is anorexia nervosa, characterized by trying to lose weight to the point of eating little or nothing. It is important to actively treat patients with anorexia nervosa in order to have better physical and mental health.

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Bài viết này được viết cho người đọc tại Sài Gòn, Hà Nội, Hồ Chí Minh, Phú Quốc, Nha Trang, Hạ Long, Hải Phòng, Đà Nẵng.

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