Don’t Break a leg!

Bangalore City Health

Anorexia can negatively impact bone density and cause fractures in patients.

By Priyanka D

Bengaluru, April 12, 2019: People with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder that is characterized by an irrational fear of weight gain, are likely to experience bone loss and fractures at later stages.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website states that anorexia symptoms are more than just weight loss. Women with eating disorders like anorexia, according to the website, experience the cessation of menstruation, also known as amenorrhea. Particularly anorexic women experience amenorrhea as their body is prioritizing on which bodily function is important and which isn’t, to sustain itself.

According to the National Institute of Health website, low body weight in females causes the body to stop producing estrogen, resulting in a condition known as amenorrhea, or absence of menstrual periods. Low estrogen levels also contribute to significant losses in bone density which is called osteoporosis.

Deepika, a woman with anorexia, who is undergoing treatment, said that her anorexia had become so bad that her parents forced her to go to the doctor. “After examining me, the doctor said that I had osteoporosis due to my anorexia. I had never felt so weak in my life.”

Deepika had also experienced a minor fracture on her right arm. She is now undergoing treatment for anorexia nervosa and osteoporosis.

Dr Siddapaji, the health officer at Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) said that this ‘lifestyle trend’ is causing harm to the youths. “The increase in such medical conditions is because of the recklessness of people. They do not follow a strict regiment of a regular balanced diet. Instead, they follow stupid trends and diets unverified by doctors.”

Gynaecologist Dr Rajni Singh said that exercise and nutrition are a must for recovering patients.

“There isn’t a lot of awareness amongst people in regards to anorexia and its symptoms. Every skinny person is considered anorexic. The problem is that the treatment of anorexia is not that easy, especially considering the fact that it’s more of a mental illness which impacts the body. The treatment requires a primary-care doctor, a psychologist, and a dietician.”

She explained how psychotherapy is important to change the perspective of the patient towards food.

“To change the behavioural pattern of the patient towards health, psychotherapy plays a crucial role. For anorexia to reach this critical point, where the patient’s bone density is impacted, it would take a long time to help them recover and change.”

She added that “they need a well-balanced diet of calcium and vitamin D. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises like walking, climbing stairs, dancing, etc., are a great way to become stronger. A bone mineral density test should be taken in order to measure bone density and progress. And they need to take their prescribed medication, which is obvious.”