Unlike Any Other Disease: Anorexia “I really gotta start losing weight before spring break,” a 15 year old from Long Island wrote in her blog on Xanga.com, a social networking site. “Basically today I went 24 hours without food and then I ate green beans and a little baked ziti. Frankly I’m proud of myself, not to mention the 100 sit-ups on the yoga ball and the 100 I’ll do before sleep. Yay for me.” (Williams 2).
Anorexia nervosa is an illness that usually occurs in teenage girls, but it can also happen to teenaged boys and adult men and women. People with anorexia nervosa are obsessed with the thought of being and remaining thin. They lose a lot of weight and are terrified of gaining it back. Anorexia nervosa isn’t just a problem
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In females, the loss of a menstrual cycle is normally the first symptom along with dramatic weight loss. The skin of an anorexic will become dry with a yellowish tint. Bones become very brittle from the lack of nutrients from food and drink. Those who starve themselves cannot handle the cold either because they have a small amount of body fat used for warmth. In compensation or low body fat, the body grows a fine coat of thin, soft hair known as lanugos. In severe cases of anorexia nervosa, the person becomes deficient in potassium, which is an important mineral to the body. The lack of potassium will lead to serious health problems, and could end in cardiac arrest (Chang 2). The signs of anorexia are typically evident and should be watched with close caution. Studies have circulated much information on this deadly disease; they show that anorexia nervosa is a genetic disease. In a 2000 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University studied 2,163 female twins and found that 77 of them suffered from symptoms of anorexia. By comparing the number of identical twins who were anorexic with the significantly small number of fraternal twins who has it, scientists concluded that more than 50 percent of the risk for developing this disorder could be attributed to and individual’s genetic makeup (Tyre 3). Although genetics play a huge role in this eating disorder,