Eating disorders also commonly known as Anorexia nervosa is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by the inability to maintain a minimally normal weight, a devastating fear of weight gain, relentless dietary habits that prevent weight gain, and a disturbance in the way in which body weight and shape are perceived. An eating disorder is marked by extremes. It is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape.
The symptoms are as follows:
• Dry skin
• Lanugo body hair
• Atrophy of the breasts
• Swelling of the parotid and submandibular glands
• Peripheral edema
• Thinning hair
During a physical exam, doctor may check your height, weight, and vital signs. Since eating disorders can cause high or low blood pressure, slow breathing, and slow pulse rates, doctors also listen to lungs and heart. An examination of your abdomen may take place. Additionally, your doctor may check your skin and hair for dryness, or look for brittle nails. Doctors may ask about any other possible problems, like a sore throat or intestinal issues, which can be complications of bulimia. Doctors don’t diagnose eating disorders based entirely on a physical exam. A psychological evaluation by a mental health doctor is also required.
Anorexia nervosa is found in all developed countries and in all socioeconomic classes, occurring around the world at similar rates (0.3-1% in women, 0.1-0.3% in men). Anorexia nervosa is more common in women than in men, with a female-to-male ratio of 10-20:1 in developed countries.