Anorexia Nervosa - Jamie Ma
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Q: The common and scientific name of the disease.
A: Anorexia nervosa is its scientific name but commonly it is called anorexia. There are two types of anorexia: restricted eating or binge eating/purging. Someone who is restricted eating eats very little per meal. Someone binge eating or purging eats a lot at once and gets rid of it by vomiting or laxatives. A small subtype of anorexia is drunkorexia, meaning the person gulps down bottles of beer to make themselves vomit.

Q: What causes it? How is it transmitted?
A: Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder caused by a compulsive fear of gaining weight. There is no specific cause for anorexia but there are 3 factors: biological, social and psychological. They have an impulsive fear for gaining weight and over periods of time, the fear of gaining weight turns into a sign of mastery and control. The motive of becoming thinner is second to the worries about control and/or fears associated to one's body. It is not an infectious disease.

Q: What are the symptoms? How long do they last? Is it deadly?
A: A few main symptoms of anorexia nervosa is:
- Rapid loss of weight
- Rush to the bathroom after eating to take laxatives to make themselves vomit
- Loss of hair
- Often faints because skipping meals
- Depression
- Red marks on knuckles to make themselves vomit
- Women having anorexia have not had three periods in a row
If anorexia continues on a person, it may cause an electrolyte imbalance because of loss of body fluids. Electrolytes in our blood stream dissolve and separate into positively and negatively charged ions. The body's muscle and nerve reactions depend on these electrolyte exchange inside and outside cells. Concluding, if anorexia continues and causes an electrolyte imbalance, it can have life threatening consequences, such as cancer.

Q: Can it be cured? If so, how? If not, is there any way that we can at least treat it?
A: There is a cure to anorexia: to seek out a multidisciplinary treatment team of a dietician or nutritionist, medical care provider and a mental health care provider. If early detected, it is curable in 80 percent of cases treated effectively. In the 80 percent, 50 percent becomes so curable that eating is not a problem. In the other 30 percent, it is curable but the patient may need to stay or return to treatment as long as needed to keep the emotional issues at bay, so it may not cause anorexia agin.


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