While anyone can fall victim to an eating disorder, about 95 percent of those suffering from anorexia are women—and the numbers are similar for bulimia. Even more, a 2008 study found that 65 percent of American women between the ages of 25 and 45 have some form of "disordered eating," and have tried to lose weight in various ways, including taking laxatives and diet pills, forcing themselves to vomit and purging. For women, eating disorders can also be a result of coping with stress in an unhealthy way. So what are some of the long-term side effects of bulimia and anorexia?
Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: This is one of the most common side effects of bulimia. Frequent vomiting associated with bulimia causes stomach acids to come in regular contact with teeth and gums, damaging enamel and weakening teeth. This decay can affect the whole mouth, and, over time, lead to extensive dental repair and painful mouth sores.
Heart Disease: Even after recovering from an eating disorder, women can suffer from heart disease and/or a heart failure. Like other muscles, the heart relies on protein to function properly, and becomes weaker if stressed with trying to function without proper nutrition. The physical stress of an eating disorder wears on every part of the body—and this vital muscle is no exception. Unfortunately, some people who suffer from eating disorders weaken the heart to the point of a heart attack, even at a young age.
Keep Reading: Side Effects of Eating Disorders