Monday, December 4, 2006

Anorexia and bulimia victimize women of all ages

Anorexia and bulimia are abnormalities of nutritional behaviour that are typical mainly of women. According to western psychiatrists about 4% of young women aged 14 to 20 suffer from these eating disorders. And it is quite natural as at teenage age young girls pay a special attention to their appearance and are very sensitive to others opinion about their looks. The standards of beauty also play a great role. The image of a fragile, air and graceful woman has become a standard of beauty in the second half XX and the beginning of the XXI century. There is nothing bad when a young girl watches her body weight and keeps fit but only if it goes within the reasonable norm. But quite often young ladies take it to extremes. Sometimes only a slight stoutness or wide cheekbones bring great dissatisfaction and distorted image of one's looks. They begin to regard their own appearance as defective. As a result their are depressed about it, their mood is often low and they have a feeling that people pay heed to their "ugliness" and laugh about them. It all leads to the dysmorphophobic syndrome when young girls start feeling keenly about their (often thought-out) "physical defects". They come to the conclusion about necessity of growing thin and begin to strive against their "extra-kilos" in different ways and to different extent. And it is very often that this struggle turns to psychologically conditioned diseases known as anorexia and bulimia. Sad but true:(

Recent studies showed that it is not only teenage ladies that pay such an excessive attention to their look what leads to abnormalities of nutritional behaviour. Even quite elderly women can be very worried about their appearance. Statistics say that about 60% of women aged 60 to 70 are dissatisfied with their body weight and "extra-kilos". 4% of them have the diagnosis of anorexia and bulimia. So women of any age can fall victim of the disease.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Anorexia and bulimia: how different are they?

Anorexia and bulimia are eating diaorders that can have both psychological and somatic basis that stands for abnormal nutritional behaviour. Anorexia and bulimia are accompanied by a great attention of the person to his weight.

It is established that anorexia and bulimia are mostly women's diseases. They may first appear in the juvenile age and last for long years.

Still as regards pathological behaviour, physiological signs and change of character, anorexia and bulimia are quite different. In case of bulimia there isn't such a considerable loss of weight. If anorexia where loss of weight finally becomes inevitably obvious for people around, the bulimic sufferers can hide their disease for a long time since their weight keeps normal.

Lets' consider how different anorexia and bulimia are.

Pathological behaviour

Anorexia and bulimiaAnorexia: restricted food consumptions, diets; rituals connected with eating, such as calculation of calories, shattering of meal, preparation of food for others and eating by oneself; strong fear to put on weight, constant struggle to keep one's weight lower than the norm; fear to be obliged to eat in public (during parties, at restaurants, etc.); hyperactivity (usually exessive sports excercises); hiding one's body under wide hanging clothes.
Bulimia: constant concern in food (conversations about weight, calories and diets); overeating , cumpulsive food consumption, inclination to hide food; fear to put on weight; avoiding paties, restaurants, etc.; visitings of a toilet right after meal; use of pharmacological means to grow thin, compulsive vomitting, use of laxatives; strict diets.

Physiological signs

Anorexia: progressive loss of weight (in short periods of time); absence or delays of menses; palenesslor, loss of hair, sensation of cold, blue fingers.
Bulimia: swelling of the parotid gland; haemorrhages of fine blood vessels on the face and under the eyes; chronic irritation of the throat; weariness and pain in muscles; dropout of teeth; wieght fluctuation (5-10 kg upwards and downwards).

Change of character

Anorexia: irritability, anger; depression, diffidence; feeling of guilt during starvation and food consumption.
Bulimia: depression; feeling of guilt and hatred to oneself, absence of self-control; severe self-criticism; seeking for approval of one's deeds and actions; changing opinion concerning body weight.

Thus, anorexia and bulimia are quite different in terms of behaviour, physiological signs and changes of character.

The three most common eating disorders

Hello! Before I start speak about anorexia and bulimia I’d like to give you the general idea of what an eating disorder is.

Eating disorders are abnormalities in nutritional behaviour that concern physical, mental, and psychological health of a person. They are all about abnormal food consumption. This consumption may be excessive or limited, it may be quite normal but also include episodes of binging and/or purging; it may be about consuming of non-foods. There are a number of theories about causes leading to eating disorders.

Eating disorders are more noticed in women, as men often don’t make the fact evident. People who suffer from this or that eating disorder often have a severe mental depression.

Scientist distinguish between the following types of eating disorders:

- bulimia nervosa,
- anorexia nervosa,
- binge eating disorder,
- hyperphagia,
- rumination,
- pica
and others.

The most widely-spread eating disorder is binge eating disorder (or overeating). Also anorexia and bulimia are quite well-known. So the three most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. All of them have severe consequences to a man's health in the short and long run.

This blog will be dedicated mainly to anorexia and bulimia, their similarities and differences, symptoms, causes, consequences and ways of treatment.