Long-Term Effects of Eating Disorders

Long-term effects of eating disordersEating disorders like bulimia, anorexia and compulsive overeating can wreak havoc on your body and your mind. An eating disorder is about more than food and can affect your life in the long-run.

What Eating Disorders Do to Your Body

Did you know that all eating disorders are dangerous? Even eating disorders that are not severe can cause long-lasting damage to your body. In many cases, a person who struggles with eating issues often suffers from more than one eating disorder. For instance, a person who has bulimia may have episodes of anorexia or compulsive overeating.

It is important to remember that even if you have struggled with an eating disorder for only a short amount of time your body may already be suffering the effects of the disorder. It is important to get a full physical examination to determine how the damages from disordered eating can be treated. Some of the long-term physical effects of eating disorders include the following:

  • Osteoporosis: A weakening of the bones caused by a lack of calcium and nutrients to the body can lead to a hunch-backed appearance and brittle bones that easily break
  • Malnutrition: Leads to a susceptibility to respiratory infections, blindness, heart attacks, blindness and death
  • Digestive disease: Irritable bowel disease, colitis, colon cancer and digestive ulcers are associated with anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating
  • Internal bleeding: Lack of proper nutrients or irritation from purging (either by vomiting or laxatives) can lead to tears in the digestive system that may hemorrhage or bleed out
  • Dehydration: The lack of necessary fluids can lead to heart damage, kidney failure, brain damage and death
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies: These may include soft hair all over the body, swelling of body tissues (that can look like weight gain), wasted muscles (muscle atrophy)
  • Infertility: The nutritional deficiencies you have now may cause you to become infertile later in life
  • Esophageal reflux: This disorder causes you to constantly regurgitate food or experience the burn or taste of stomach acid
  • Cancer: Some studies have linked esophageal cancer or digestive cancer to eating disorders
  • Bad skin and hair: Lack of vitamins and minerals can cause your hair to fall out and your skin to prematurely age
  • Liver or kidney failure: Kidney and liver disease can be caused by nutrient deficiencies and can lead to death
  • Anemia: Anemia can lead to bruising, hair loss, weakness and other problems
  • Dental problems: Lack of nutrients and vomiting will cause your teeth to decay, blacken and break

Find Eating Disorder Treatment Now

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, call our toll-free helpline. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to provide information and support. Learn how to overcome the physical and psychological effects of eating disorders. Call now.