When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? If your answer is on the negative side, you are not alone. There are a large number of women and men that feel the pressures of society and are affected by the cultural norms of beauty. This can lead to poor body image.
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia affects approximately 8 million Americans. Of that number, 7 million are women. Ninety-five percent of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25. Eating disorders also have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.
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Teens and young adults may feel pressured by the media on what the ideal body type looks like. What people tend to ignore is that being thin does not necessarily mean you are healthy. This is especially true when a person participates in unhealthy behaviors to lose the weight.
There are so many vitamins and nutrients our bodies need. When we go to extremes in order to lose weight our body is not getting what it needs in order to keep healthy. This can leave our bodies feeling weak and unsatisfied. Those suffering from eating disorders are also at risk for many health related problems such as:
• Cardiac Arrest
• Kidney damage and failure
• Tooth damage and loss
• The growth of fine hair all over the body
• Stomach ulcer
• Stomach rupture
Some socio-cultural and psychological factors that may lead to disordered eating are: low-self esteem, outside pressures to be thin, cultural norms of attractiveness, and coping with negative emotions.
Every person with an eating disorder is different and the cause is not always easily discovered. You may want to confront a loved one about the concerns that you have. It is extremely important that if you or someone you know seems to be suffering from an eating disorder to encourage him/her to make an appointment with his/her doctor.
Dr. Tracy Quinn, DO, is a Board Certified doctor specializing in Family Practice. She has an office at the Advocate Medical Group in Wauconda, IL.