By Sarah Donovan

What is anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder. It is happens when a person is obsessed with dieting and exercise causing extreme weight loss. Anorexia can be fatal.

Body systems affected

The brain is the most affected by anorexia. People have misconceptions of what their body really looks like. When they look in the mirror, they think they look fat and gross, when they are truly very thin. Also, anorexia makes the bones become much weaker from lack of nutrition. And the last body system affected is the heart. The beat will slow down, and can cause heart failure to many.

Body system working normally vs. how the body system works with Anorexia

A normal brain is wired much differently than an anorexic brain. The normal brain relates food with pleasure, where as the anorexic brain relates food to discomfort.

Many people with anorexia find it much easier to just skip meals than eat them.

Target Population

Mostly young adult females are affected. In the U.S , 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder, primarily Anorexia. About 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures. 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade have said that magazine pictures have influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. 20 million women in the U.S have suffered from an eating disorder, vs. 10 million men with eating disorders. That shows that women are much more susceptible. But the scariest thing of all is that 81% of 10 year old's are scared of being fat.


Anorexia arises from many different causes. The first is genetics. It runs in family's. Another way it can arise is body image. Many teenagers and adults want to look like the thin models in magazines. So they starve themselves to try and get that body type. Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression can influence young minds into anorexia. Also feelings of helplessness and perfectionism can be a leading cause.


Doctors will do a physical exam. They are looking for certain signs such as:

  • Slow heartbeat and breathing
  • Cold hands
  • Hair loss
  • Underweight
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual pulse
  • Blood tests to see if there is an unbalance of chemicals
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Signs and Symptoms

  • Making him or himself throw up
  • Taking dieting pills
  • Not eating or eating very small amounts
  • Exercising even when tired or sick
  • Constantly checking the amount of calories being consumed
  • Not wanting to eat in public or in front of others
  • Hiding food habits
  • Fainting or severe light head
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of menstrual period


There are many different ways to treat anorexia. Some types of treatment are:

  • Support groups
  • Therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Supervised weight gain
  • Antidepressants
  • Hospitalization is condition is severe
  • Outpatient

My Anorexia Story - uOttawa


The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old. Between 5% and 20% of people suffering from anorexia will die. Another 20% will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and health problems.


I have friends and family members with this disease. I wanted to learn more about it so I could help encourage them. Also, I want to teach others about this disease so that they can prevent getting it themselves, or loved ones.

Works Cited

  • "The Source - Women's Health Data Directory." The Source - Women's Health Data Directory. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

  • "The Source - Women's Health Data Directory." The Source - Women's Health Data Directory. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

  • "ANAD." National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

  • "Anorexia- Adult: Anorexia Nervosa." N.p., n.d. Web.

  • "WebMD - Better Information. Better Health." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

  • "Healthy Body Image." N.p., n.d. Web.

  • "Women's Health." Women's Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

  • Unlimited Wishes. "My Anorexia Story - UOttawa." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.