When referring to anorexia people tend to think: “It’s a life threatening disorder, if a person is anorexic then they are starving themselves and not getting enough nutrients in their body, which leads them to become very weak and depressed. It also causes depletion of fat stores; wasting of muscles; inflammation and swelling of the lips; flaking and peeling of skin; growth of fine hair on the body, and dry, thin, brittle hair on the head that may fall out.”
Most of what is described above is associated with electrolyte imbalances. Let me explain, if I may. Electrolytes are charged element found in the blood and body fluids, such as, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium.
Calcium and Phosphate for example, are the main components of bones. Hypocalcemia, induces brittle bone and decalcification of bones, exactly as seen in osteoporosis. Potassium and Magnesium, are two very important elements needed for heart physiology, and any disturbances in their blood concentrations can cause severe Cardiac Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Problems), and even death. And the list of abnormalities goes on and on…….
Electrolyte imbalances, induced by increased vomiting of decreased food intake, are one of the major physiological problems associated with the eating disorders.
Are you anorexic?
- Do you feel fat even though people tell you you’re not?
- Are you terrified of gaining weight?
- Do you lie about how much you eat or hide your eating habits from others?
- Are your friends or family concerned about your weight loss, eating habits, or appearance?
- Do you diet, compulsively exercise, or purge when you’re feeling overwhelmed or bad about yourself?
- Do you feel powerful or in control when you go without food, over-exercise, or purge?
- Do you base your self-worth on your weight or body size?
Dr. Zachary Lahlou