Characteristics of Anorexia
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In today’s 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill takes a closer look at anorexia nervosa, explaining some of the symptoms and characteristics of the eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa is a complex eating disorder that affects 1 percent of the U.S. population.  The disorder is most common in teens and young adults.  Females are much more likely to develop anorexia than males.

An eating disorder is a serious medical illness. Anorexia needs to be recognized early in the disease process and treated by specialists in eating disorders. 

Common symptoms of anorexia include:

• Seeing his or her body as fat, even though they are underweight

• Intense fear of gaining weight

• Restricting food or types of food

• Eating only foods with minimal calories

• Stopping or never having a monthly menstrual period

• Secrecy around food and denial of a problem with eating

Some people with anorexia make themselves vomit even though they have not overeaten.

Anorexia is a serious illness. All people with anorexia need treatment.  This includes taking steps to maintain a healthy weight, learning good eating habits and receiving professional counseling.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.