Anoxia nervosa is an eating disorder that has being present since the very beginning. However, due to lack of medical understanding and awareness, this was never considered a legit problem. Now, thanks to social medial and general awareness drives, many people know about this disease and how to go about it. Even though this disorder has no ethnic, age or gender bias but it is mostly seen in adolescence when a child’s body is growing. In this disorder, the person suffering usually restricts his/ her diet to a certain amount of calories and a particular type of food. This results in lack of essential nutrients leading to muscle wasting and overall weight loss. Another habit seen in such patients is that they exercise a lot, vomit after eating and even binge eat.
In this blog post, we will discuss the key signs and symptoms to help you identify a patient in your everyday life, and most importantly to help them out! The key signs are basically divided into 2 categories, emotional and physical. Following are the bullet points to each separately, for better understanding.
1) Emotional changes
a) Drastic weight loss – all of a sudden there is a great change in their appearance (weight).
b) Wearing extra layers – most patients do this to hide their sudden body changes, however, another reason can be to stay warm as they are now weak and low of fat.
c) Selective diet – this one is a little hard to differentiate from the normal dieting, however with other signs combined, you can easily pick this.
d) Super conscious of their weight – time and again they mention that they have grown fat, even though the reality is opposite.
e) Avoids food – this can also be with the person cooking food at your home. They will cook but not eat.
f) Rigorous exercise – as mentioned in bullet point D, these patients are conscious of their weight and want to lose it. Thus, there exercise regimens are quite intense.
g) Building an introvert nature – they withdraw from any social interaction, be it friends or family. They would no more want to go out or have fun and become quite.
h) Menstrual loss – this is for female patients who had hit puberty. Sudden deficiency leads to menstrual cycle loss.
2) Physical side effects of anorexia
a) Cramps – especially in the abdomen without any other systemic complain.
b) Lack of concentration – the patients are often seen fidgeting and are easy distracted.
c) Systemic disorders – as described in bullet point 1c, the patients goes to a more selective diet which means they avoid a certain kind of food. This leads to deficiencies which further cause systemic diseases like anemia (iron deficiency anemia, low RBCS etc.)
d) Altered mental health – patient can’t focus, sleeps often, feels cold, he/ she can even faint!
e) Oral problems – due to induced vomiting, the oral cavity is greatly altered with enamel erosion and cavity.
f) Dermatological – skin becomes dry and nails tend to chip off.
g) Muscle – there is generalized muscle weakness.
h) Immune – their immune system is impaired, getting sick more often.
These are the most common signs and symptoms of anorexia. Please, reach out for help if you have any of these signs.