Posted: August 12th, 2013
Anorexia nervosa is a nutrition disorder described by excessive food limitation, unreasonable alarm of gaining weight and having a corrupted perception of an individual’s body. It characteristically involves an extreme decrease in body weight. Anorexia is mostly witnessed during the adolescent period. Consequently, people suffering from anorexia nervosa check the quantity of food that they consume. This limiting of the amount of food intake creates digestive and hormonal problems. Anorexia is a medical term for poor appetite and indeed, people with anorexia nervosa lose their appetites as well as the need to survive through feeding.
When doctors believe that someone has anorexia, they may run numerous tests and examinations to assist in locating a diagnosis, exclude medical reasons for the loss of weight, and verify if any other related complications are present. The physical examination involves several steps. First, measuring the weight and height and analyzing the usual signs. The nails and skin of suspected anorexia patients is usually dry. Other physical examinations check for the pulse, heart rate and lung complications and the abdomen (Warner et al 39). Secondly, the laboratory tests that include a complete blood test that checks for blood count, electrolytes and proteins are done. The lab tests also examine the functioning of the kidney, liver and thyroid.
The most glaring symptom of anorexia is malnutrition brought about by poor eating habits such as self-imposed starvation. Another glaring symptom is the accompanied depression. Anorexic people also refuse to sustain a regular body mass that is congruent to their age and instead try to lower or increase it. Among females, there is full-blown amenorrhea that is the absence of three successive menstrual cycles.
The treatment for anorexia nervosa attempts to solve three issues in the disorder. First, the restoration of the patient’s weight to normalcy is the first priority. Secondly, the treatment of the psychological complication causing anorexia is carried out and lastly, the behavior and thoughts encouraging the eating disorders are dealt with. The treatment of anorexia nervosa can prove to be very difficult and about 6% of patients suffering from it die each year. The dietary recommendations for treating anorexia nervosa include addition of supplements such as zinc, essential fatty acids and additional nutrition therapy that provides a nutrition analysis based on the doctor’s assessment. In terms of medication, Olanzapine has shown relative success in treating anorexia nervosa by reducing obsession with food (Poutanen et al 26).
There has been notable research in developing new treatment for anorexia nervosa such as Marinol (dronabinol) that is extracted from cannabis sativa and that is expected to reduce the obsession with food. The tests into applying ghrelin treatment in the treatment of anorexia are also being concluded with the results showing reduction of the gastrointestinal problems (Lock 29).
There are no official and approved methods of preventing anorexia nervosa. Early treatment holds the best opportunity to change the condition of an anorexic person. Early diagnosis and identification of signs that can be immediately addressed may be the best method of handling anorexia nervosa. Individual self-esteem is also important is avoiding the development of anorexia. As stated before, adolescents are most probable to be detected with anorexia because of their difficulty with dealing with their self-image and esteem.
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