Characteristics of a person with anorexia nervosa
Characteristics of a person with anorexia nervosa

The typical characteristics of a person with anorexia nervosa include:

  • Low body mass index (<17.5 kg/m2)
  • Bodyweight less than 85 percent of ideal body weight
  • Body temperature less than 35-degree Celcius
  • Bradycardia (heartbeat less than 60 beats per minute)
  • Hypotension (BP of less than 90/50 mm Hg)
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Brittle hair and hair loss
  • Fine, soft hair on the body
  • Bloating and swelling in the stomach
  • Brittle nails
  • Pressure sores
  • Yellow tinge on the skin
  • Cold and pale legs and hands
  • Edema
  • Impaired immune system
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Muscle weakness

They may also exhibit emotional and behavioral symptoms that include:

  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Refuses to eat certain foods
  • Preoccupied with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting
  • Expresses a need to “burn off” calories
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Maintains an excessive, rigid regimen
  • Develops food rituals
  • Becomes socially isolated and withdrawn
  • Feels ineffective

What is anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa, commonly known as anorexia, is a psychological disorder in which an individual considers themselves as being overweight, or controls the shape and size of a specific body part, even when they are extremely thin. In the more severe form of this disease, one may be petrified of gaining weight or may have a tremendous obsession over the shape of the body to the point that people are sick of eating, and may take extreme measures to lose weight.

Who is at risk of getting anorexia nervosa?

Individuals associated with the following factors are at risk of getting anorexia nervosa:

  • Female gender
  • Teenagers
  • An ethnic group such as Caucasian
  • Middle and upper socioeconomic group
  • Professionals such as athlete, models, dancers, and actors
  • Family history of anorexia
  • High emotional stress
  • Starvation
  • General history of under-eating
  • Mothers with postpartum depression
  • Victims of childhood abuse
  • Extreme parental pressure
  • Depression, stress, or anxiety
  • Lack of social or family support
  • Low self-esteem


Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating See Slideshow

What are the complications of anorexia nervosa?

The medical complications of anorexia nervosa occur mainly due to starvation. The following are the complications of anorexia nervosa:

How can you prevent anorexia nervosa?

Detecting early signs of anorexia can help in preventing anorexia nervosa. You can prevent your loved ones from developing anorexia at the early stages by the following ways:

  • Look out for signs such as eating disorders, dramatic weight loss, constant complaining about being fat, avoiding mealtimes, and excessive exercising.
  • Educate yourself about anorexia, especially the myths and facts
  • Talk to your loved ones about the importance of being healthy, the dangers of dieting, and also about the importance of personality over the image.
  • Get the help of a psychiatrist if necessary
  • Teach your loved one about inner beauty rather than focusing on external appearance.
  • Compliment your loved one now and then
  • Be a role model to your loved one in all ways

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Medically Reviewed on 9/18/2020