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Eating Disorders

Have you ever been told that you suffer from an eating disorder, such as: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, bulimia nervosa, or a binge eating disorder?#

Eating Disorder (ED)#

Eating disorders fall into several categories, including anorexia, bulimia and bulimia nervosa, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (ENOS), which include binge eating disorders.

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders may be as subtle as parotid gland swelling with no identifiable cause or as obvious as enamel erosion in the case of bulimia, or cachexia in patients with anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia Nervosa#

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a desire to maintain a weight of <85% of “healthy” weight, intense fear of weight gain, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and a decrease in metabolic rate. This disorder may result in myocardial atrophy characterized by a reduction in left ventricular mass index and volume, sinus bradycardia, profound reversible sinus node dysfunction, and orthostatic hypotension, and hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is usually present when a patient's body mass index (BMI) drops <15 kg/m2.

Bulimia or Bulimia Nervosa#

Bulimia or bulimia nervosa is characterized by lack of control of food intake and overeating (binge-eating), which is compensated by extreme exercise, use of laxatives purging (self-induced vomiting), fasting and sometimes misuse of insulin. These types of behaviors put the patient at risk for developing medical complications that affect all body systems, in particular the renal and electrolyte systems (e.g. hypokalemia). Signs and symptoms may include:

  • dehydration,
  • diffuse, asymptomatic, bilateral parotid gland swelling,
  • occasional submandibular swelling proportional in size to frequency of vomiting,
  • lingual and/or palatal enamel erosion of maxillary dentition, sometimes associated with thermal sensitivity,
  • irritable bowlel syndrome,
  • laxative and/or diuretic abuse
  • severe self-criticism
  • self-worth determined by weight.

Binge Eating Disorder#

Binge ED is characterized by recurrent eating of large volumes of food in a short period of time and is accompanied by a feeling of lack of control of overeating.

In addition, it includes eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not hungry, eating alone for fear of embarrassment, feeling of disgust, depression and guilt for overeating.

Binge ED is typically not associated with the compensatory behaviors of anorexia and bulimia.

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