Alternate Names : Anorexia
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person refuses to maintain a healthy weight for his or her age and height. It is a self-imposed starvation resulting from a distorted body image. The individual typically loses 25% or more of his or her original body weight.
What is going on in the body?
People with anorexia nervosa have an overwhelming fear of obesity. They see themselves as fat, even when they are malnourished. They will deny hunger, even when they are starving. Body protein and fat stores become depleted.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The exact cause of anorexia nervosa is unknown. It is believed to be a result of psychological, biological, and social stress. It may be related to sexual development during adolescence. Some experts believe that anorexia nervosa is a response to social attitudes that equate beauty with being thin. Anorexia is extremely rare in areas of the world where food is scarce. There is also evidence that anorexia nervosa runs in families and can be inherited.
Anorexia nervosa occurs most often in females between the ages of 12 and 21. It is most common in middle- and upper-class females. However, it may also occur in males and adult women.