Effects of Bulimia - Health Complications

There are many effects of bulimia and the health complications can be varied in each individual. Bulimia is normally characterized by behaviors of binging and purging.
Binging can be defined as a large consumption of food in a short time period, but the word "large" can mean different things for different people. Some consider a large amount of calories to be binging while others may think a regular portion of food at a mealtime may be too much. Others may consider a piece of cake and ice cream at a party to be a binge. As you can imagine, the word "large" is relative to what each person believes to be "too much food at one time."
Characteristically, after binging, the person feels so guilty, so bad about themselves, over their action that they feel the need to get rid of all the food they just ingested. This is where the purging behavior starts.
Purging can be defined as the elimination of food/calories by means of vomiting or using laxatives. Different individuals will use one method or the other and some will combine methods. This is very individual to each person. Binging and purging can lead to serious health complications. These health complications may at times be severe and even life threatening. The type of purging used may determine the severity of those health complications.
A person's normal body functions are disrupted by the behaviors characterized by bulimia. Some of the more common complications of bulimia affect your cardiovascular, digestive, and dental health. The potassium levels in your body fluids can also be affected by bulimia and may lead to drug and medication abuse.
Some of the cardiovascular problems caused are rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeats, chest pains, imbalances in electrolyte levels, breathing problems, and possibly even cardiac arrest. Bulimia may also lead to low blood pressure, lightheadedness, fainting, and dizzy episodes.
Some of the digestive problems caused are swelling and sores in the throat and mouth. You may rupture the lining of your esophagus or stomach. Long term use of laxatives may lead to drug dependence and adversely affect the normal bowel functions. Pancreatitis, peptic ulcers, bloating, and stomach pain may also be health complications resulting from bulimia.
The acid coming back up from your stomach through your throat and mouth can destroy your tooth enamel and thus lead to more tooth decay and cavities. Your teeth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and become crumbly or fall out. Intensive work on the teeth may be needed to get them back to the condition they were once in before bulimic activity was initiated.
Bulimia may also cause loss of or irregular menstruation, mood swings, depression, kidney and liver damage, possible hair loss, and anemia. As you can see, the effects of bulimia can be MANY and are varied from individual to individual.
Bottom line, if you or someone you know, has bulimia, please get the information you need to get treatment. The time to get healthy again is NOW, not later. Get help, please.

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