Long Term Health Effects of Bulimia
Bulimia robs the body of nutrients and leaves individuals with health problems that last throughout their life. When young adults attempt to lose weight by the practice of eating and then purging their food, they have no idea of the severe harm they’re doing to their bodies.
The practice of bulimia can cause long-term health problems in almost every system in the body including the cardiovascular, digestive, excretory, skeletal, reproductive, and nervous system.
Heart and Circulation
Using laxatives to purge the body of food causes electrolyte imbalances which damage the heart. Electrolyte imbalances can lead to a heart attack. Heart failure is one of the leading fatal effects from bulimia. Bulimia can also induce high blood pressure, severe headaches, seizures, and fatigue.
Bulimia damages the nerves that signal to your brain that your stomach is full. This damage is oftentimes irreversible. Individuals with bulimia may also suffer from bloating and ulcers.
Malnutrition keeps the kidneys from functioning normally, cleaning toxins and dangerous substances out of the body. As harmful poisons build in the body, they can cause problems such as kidney infection or kidney failure.
If an individual does not get enough nutrients, their bone mineral density will not fully develop. This also happens when an individual does not get enough Vitamin D, phosphorus, or calcium in their system. As a result, some with bulimia develop Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is an irreversible bone disease. Tooth decay and loss can also happen as a result of bulimia due to the frequent vomiting causing stomach acids to eat away at the teeth.
A woman who suffers from bulimia for several years may damage her reproductive system. As her body focuses on survival, because of nutrient depletion, her menstruation ceases. Sometimes her menstrual cycle never resumes which results in her being unable to ever have children.
Bulimia doesn’t just injure the body physically, it can cause emotional problems that persist throughout someone’s lifetime. The effects of bulimia can damage the brain’s ability to concentrate and make decisions. Those with bulimia sometimes suffer from psychological problems that can last for years and even endanger their lives. Some individuals fall into such great depression that they may become suicidal. Others engage in behavior that physically hurts them such as drug or alcohol abuse, while others inflict cuts upon their own body. The majority of sufferers of bulimia are women. When girls are young and wish to have a picture-perfect body, they may think that eating and purging their food is a harmless way to lose weight.
Most of these young women have no idea of the irreversible damage they are inflicting upon themselves. They would not imagine that vomiting up their food could keep them from someday having a baby; that they could suffer a fatal heart from cleaning the food out of their body; or that their teeth could fall out from vomiting too much.
Further education on the long-term effects of eating disorders may help these girls prevent a lifetime of damaging problems.