There may be murmurs about that girl who only fixes herself a salad with only vinegar at dining services or suspicious glances at someone who spends 45 minutes on the treadmill and then switches to the stair stepper at the rec. On-campus eating disorders are talked about everywhere and yet are not really talked about at all. There is observation, concern, and gossip, but hushed conversation and larger scale efforts to help and change never seem to earn public attention.
There is this girl that I grew up and graduated with. I talked to her almost everyday at school, but we were never that close. I never saw much of her over the summer except when she was out running after a two to three hour softball practice. At my younger sister’s volleyball game about a month or two ago, I saw this girl. She was so thin it was almost disgusting. Her skin was pale, her hair was thin, and I could see her ribs through her shirt. She went from looking healthy and physically fit to looking sick and fragile. This is why I chose this topic. People need to pay more attention to this disease. Anorexics are literally dying to be thin.
Most of you probably already know what anorexia is, however in case you don’t anorexia is basically a disease involving self-starvation. Anorexia victims have a very low “ideal” weight. It might begin as a normal diet carried to extremes, reducing their food intake to a bare minimum. Rules are made of how much food they can eat in one day and how much exercise is required after eating certain amounts of food. With anorexia, there is a strong almost overwhelming fear of putting on weight and they are preoccupied with the way that their bodies look. Anorexia sometimes involves use of laxatives, diet pills, or self-induced vomiting to lose or to keep weight off (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/anorexianervosa.htm). Anorexics may show symptoms such as extreme weight loss for no medical reason. Also, many deny their hunger, chew excessively, choosing low calorie foods and exercising excessively (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health).
Anorexics do all of those things to become thin, when in reality, it makes your body better at storing fat rather than burning it. Starving yourself to lose weight is not beautiful in any way. Starved bodies ache all of the time. The skin bruises, muscles cramp and deteriorate, and the bowels stop working on their own. There is nothing attractive about that. The body is constantly weak and yet isn’t able to sleep because your body thinks it needs to stay awake to find food. The mouth dries and the eyes fog and some actually go blind from food deprivation (http://anorexicweb.com). For women, menstruation stops, body hair starts to grow especially on the face and arms, and the hair on the head falls out. Dehydration, osteoporosis, kidney stones and kidney failure are not uncommon among anorexics. An irregular heartbeat develops because of a change in heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure and even death (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health). It can also cause osteoporosis. Anorexia can cause difficulties with concentration and can delay the growth of the young. Along with anorexia one might have mental health problems such as depression and increased risk of suicide (http://www.metdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/anorexianervosa.htm). Only one third of anorexic patients recover fully; another third improve considerably and the other third never recover. Over 25% of anorexics require hospitalization because they become too weak. Eighteen percent of anorexics die prematurely. Also, the highest numbers of psychiatric deaths are due to anorexia (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health). So, if you are wondering what this extreme dieting will do to your body, those are only some of the things that anorexia can do to your body, mind and health.