Monday, February 2, 2009

Many of us turn to dieting to shed a few extra pounds, but for some people, dieting becomes an obsession that turns into an eating disorder. Dr. Edward Hill explains the most common eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that can lead to poor health or even death. A person with anorexia has a distorted body image.  Even though the person may be very thin and malnourished, the person sees herself as overweight.  Anorexics eat very little food and avoid fat like the plague. The cause of anorexia is often a very complex psycho-social issue that may be difficult to treat.

Anorexia affects less than one percent of Americans, but 90 percent of anorexics are female.

Anorexia usually begins during adolescence but can occur in early childhood. A few cases develop in adulthood.  Long-term or severe anorexia can lead to serious health problems such as thinning of bones, loss of teeth and hair, severe imbalances in the body chemistry, altered heart function and rhythm, and even death.

Early and appropriate treatment is needed to prevent a lifelong battle with anorexia and its health consequences.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.