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Bulimia Symptoms That You Can Observe

March 23, 2008 – 1:30 am

By Dr Irina Webster

People with bulimia are very secretive about their disorder. For this reason it is very difficult to notice anything as an observer. Bulimics look normal to other people. Even close family members initially have difficulty seeing what is going on with the person.

But you can observe some specific bulimic features if you know what to look for. These features are very subtle but are visible once you realize they are there. Surprisingly, being extremely thin and underweight is not common for bulimia sufferers, even though people with bulimia are concerned about being fat.

Bulimics usually are about normal weight or even can be slightly overweight; some can be thin too. But when you closely observe their behavior and know what to look for you can notice increased anxiety close to meal times.

Some sufferers can be reluctant to share their meal times with others. They will do things like refusing to go out to a restaurant or a family dinner. Some may refuse to sit at the table to eat while munching something on the run.

If they do go out for a meal, they may disappear to the bathroom straight after eating and stay away for a long period of time. Sometimes when they eat with others they only eat very small amounts of food, drink lots of water, separate the food on their plate and make strange choices and combinations of food.

Looking at their hands you may notice damaged knuckles from inducing vomiting, although this sign can take some time to develop. Discoloration of the skin on the outer surface of hands can also be noticed on bulimics.

Their face may appear to be puffy with small broken blood vessels under the skin. This is because the salivary glands increase in size making their cheeks look bigger especially below the area of the ears.

Dry lips and small ulcers on the lips or around the mouth are common in periods of extreme vomiting and look like cold sores.

People who use laxatives and diuretics will have extremely frequent visits to the bathroom. In these cases signs of dehydration can be noticed, like dark circles around the eyes, dizziness, nausea, dry skin and low blood pressure are common in sufferers.


There are bulimics who exercise excessively. They follow a strong exercise regiment and become fanatical about their running, jumping, cycling, aerobics etc.

Many bulimics have what is called ‘broken eye” syndrome. This is when they perceive themselves as fat, non-attractive and think that others are better then them. They look in a mirror and see a big fat person standing there even if they are not. These individuals have low self esteem and look very shy and non-confident among others.

Bulimics often complain of stomachaches that occur around meal times. Diarrhea or constipation can bother them as well. Their teeth can become discolored and decayed fast. Bad breath is one of the common bulimics symptoms especially for those who are less hygienic. 

If you ask a bulimic girl about her periods she may say that it is irregular or even absent, it depends on how much she vomits per day. 

To sum up, there are many bulimia symptoms but most of them are so subtle and difficult to notice it is hard for the average person to tell. If you suspect that someone has bulimia look for the signs described above. And if the person has at least two or three of these symptoms especially disappearing to the bathroom after meals, she is likely to have the disease. This means she may be in danger of becoming very sick and she needs help.


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Long Term Effects of Bulimia Nervosa.

March 20, 2008 – 7:03 am

Bulimia affects different organs. And the longer you have bulimia the more organs get affected and damaged.

 

The organs that suffer the most are: heart, kidney, brain, digestive system, bones, skin and endocrine glands.

The heart gets damaged from the constant electrolyte imbalances caused by continuous purging and becomes weaker the longer the bulimia continues. Some people even can die from this complication when a weak heart goes into a “heart block”. This is when the heart suddenly stops beating due to extremely low potassium or other mineral deficiency induced by vomiting and laxatives abuse.

Kidney damage is very common among long term bulimics.

 

The kidneys are organs that normally correct mineral abnormalities in the body. But when a person’s mineral balance is constantly disturbed, like in case of bulimia, the kidneys are under enormous strain to correct it and eventually they get damaged.

The brain suffers also from the moment bulimia starts.

 

 People have distorted thought patterns like depression and anxiety. The longer bulimia goes on for the stronger the addiction to binging and purging becomes. The long time effects of brain damage from bulimia are: suicidal thoughts, self-cutting and other self-harm symptoms. Impulsive behavior can occur and people can become less responsible for their action.

 

The digestive system also gets affected badly. The stomach experience delays in empting its food content and people suffer from pains in the abdominal area, bloating, acid reflux, stomach ulcers and esophageal problems.

In long standing bulimia cases sufferers loose the feeling of being hungry or full. Sometimes their taste distorts which makes them eat strange combinations of food or experience cravings (for example craving to eat very salty or sour things).

The bones become weak due to the development of low bones density after many years of suffering from bulimia. People can and do complain about their bone’s aching plus they have lots of pain and the bones can break from even minimal strain or pressure.

Skin looses its youthful look even at a relatively young age. Dry skin, inflammation of the skin, abnormal irritation and ongoing pimples are common problems for bulimics.

Hair loss due to mineral and protein depletion is inevitable in long term bulimia.

The endocrine glands eventually stop working properly and produce fewer hormones than the body needs: this makes a person age quickly and loose muscle tone. Menstruation becomes irregular or stops and because of this a woman is unable to conceive and have a baby.

To sum up, the long term effects of bulimia nervosa can be extremely dangerous. And treatment for this disorder becomes more complicated the longer it goes on.

The best way is to prevent these dangerous effects from happening is to treat the disease sooner rather than later.

The best thing is to start educating yourself and your family about what to do and what to change at home to help the sufferer. Home and family support are proven to be the best way of treating this condition. But it has to be the right help and the right support.
To learn more about it go to http://www.mom-please-help.com

Media and influence on women body image.

March 19, 2008 – 4:42 am

It has become obvious now that the media advertises and promotes a very unhealthy trend of extreme dieting and other bad eating habits to women. Most of media sources put on their covers images of skinny emancipated females.Doing this they influence the subconscious mind of the masses. And women continue to spend their money trying to achieve this unattainable look they constantly see in media advertising.

To try and solve this problem let’s answer the next questions.

1. What is body image?
2. What kind of trends in the media industry are we noticing now?
3. How do the media influence our perception of body image?
4. What could be the reasons behind this?
5. What are the consequences of this kind of trend?
6. What are some real suggestions on how to improve your body image?

Your body image is how you perceive, think and feel about your body. This may have no bearing at all on your actual appearance. For instance, it is common in Western nations for women to believe they are larger and fatter than they really are.

Only one in five women is satisfied with their body weight. Nearly half of all normal weight women overestimate their size and shape. A distorted body image can lead to self-destructive behavior, like dieting or eating disorders. Approximately nine out of 10 young Australian women have dieted at least once in their lives.

So, the basic trend in the media industry at the moment is to promote slim, even skinny unnatural looking women’s bodies as being beautiful.

Women of all ages but especially young women look at magazines, TV, movies and other media products full of images that show skinny women’s bodies. And these are perceived by the subconscious mind of young women as being a role model to follow and aspire to be like.

Achieving this skinny look does not come naturally; it inevitably leads to practicing some kind of dieting, excessive exercising or abnormal eating behaviors.

Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman—but today’s models weigh 23 per cent less.

Advertisers believe that thin models sell products. When the Australian magazine New Woman recently included a picture of a heavy-set model on its cover, it received a truckload of letters from grateful readers praising the move.

But its advertisers complained and the magazine returned to featuring bone-thin models.

What could be the reason behind all this? Why has this fashion trend occurred now? Why are standards of beauty being imposed on women, the majority of whom are naturally larger than any of the models?

The reasons for this according to some analysts, is an economic one. By presenting an ideal look which is difficult to achieve and maintain the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits.

 It is estimated that the diet industry alone is worth $100 billion ( U.S.) a year. This is a lot of money and certainly worth their while to continue to foster emancipated women as being the norm.

And the consequences of this trend are huge. On the one hand, women who are insecure about their bodies are more likely to buy beauty products, new clothes, and diet pills or other diet supplies.

On the other hand, research indicates that exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls.

The level of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are increasing rapidly every year. It is estimated that around 5 per cent of women and 1 percent of men have an eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia or binge eating some time in their life.

And about 15 per cent of all young women have significantly distorted eating attitudes and behavior that can lead to developing anorexia or bulimia in the near future.

So, what would be some real suggestions on how to improve your body image without resorting to unhealthy eating habits?

The First one is to change your goal from weight loss to just improving your health. Second, is to focus more the internal beauty like improving your self-esteem, self-confidence and internal strengths of your character.

Get informed by reading up on body image issues and self-improvement books. And give yourself a break from women’s magazines and the mass media advertising for a while if you feel you maybe prone to this kind of false perceptions.

To sum up, the media does impact on women’s body image significantly and it can affect women’s physical and mental health in a negative way.

And the only way to stop these negative effects coming from the media is to teach women not to judge themselves by the beauty industry’s standards and learn not to compare themselves to the cover girls.

And also it is important to promote a healthy life style with emphasis on internal beauty like improving self-esteem and self-confidence. Not on being a stick like model.

http://www.eatingdisorder-cure.com

Dr Irina Webster.