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Eating Disorders - Referat

Today more than ever people — particularly teens — are concerned about how they look and can feel self-conscious about their bodies. This can be especially true when they are going through puberty, and undergo dramatic physical changes and face new social pressures.
Between 4-7% of humans suffer from an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or obesity, about 10% of them are male. Statistics show that cases of eating disorders have doubled since the 1960s.
When most people hear of someone with an eating disorder they almost automatically assume the person has a problem with food. Eating disorders are not a sign that a person has a problem with food, rather eating disorders are actually only the symptoms of underlying problems in that person's life.

There can be different theories why people get into that vicious circle. At first there are psychological factors like a low self-esteem, the lack of control in life and depressions, anxiety, anger or loneliness.
Other causes can be interpersonal situations as troubles in family and personal relationships, difficulty emotions and feelings or traumas like physical or sexual abuse and being teased in the past on size or weight.
Social influence, for example having the “perfect body” and the concern of the physical appearance could cause especially anorexia as well.
We are always surrounded by the medias, which show us how we have to look. Stars are our idols, some of them also suffer from anorexia or bulimia, for example Mary-Kate Olson, Lindsay Lohan or all the top models. We want to look like them because everybody says you can only be popular when you’re pretty, and you can only be pretty when you’re super-thin.
Scientists are still researching possible biochemical or biological causes of eating disorders. In some individuals with eating disorders, certain chemicals in the brain that control hunger, appetite, and digestion have been found to be imbalanced.

Anorexia Nervosa
People with anorexia have an extreme fear of weight gain and a distorted view of their body size and shape. As a result, they try to keep a very low body weight. Some reduce their food intake by dieting, fasting, or excessive exercise. They hardly eat at all and often try to eat as few calories as possible, frequently obsessing over food intake. The small amount of food they do eat becomes an obsession.

Anyone can become an anorexic, but most sufferers are teenage girls. Unconsidered of age or sex, anorexics usually show several of the following symptoms:
A distorted self image, so that they believe they are fat when they are really too thin, the fear of gaining weight, excessive exercising, refusal to recognize the signs of hunger, an extreme sensitivity to cold , hair loss, dry skin, troubles on concentrating and girls could be prone to suffer from irregular or missing menstrual periods.

Consequences can be the lack of energy, a muscle loss, a heart failure, Osteoporosis, kidney failure or at least death by starvation or even worse suicide as the result of the depression that often come with an eating disorder. 10- 15 per cent of the Anorexia Nervosa patients die as a result of their organ failure.

Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimics are usually people that do not feel secure about their own self worth. Food becomes their only source of comfort.
Bulimia is characterized by
a cycle of excessive eating followed by purging to try and rid the body of unwanted calories. Purging methods usually involve vomiting and laxative abuse or other forms like excessive exercise, fasting and diet pills.
Another form of Bulimia is the Binge Eating disorder. People who suffer from it do as same as Bulimics, they eat more than necessary, but they don’t purge the food out of their body, what can cause Obesity, which we go to details later.

The following signs may indicate that someone is suffering from bulimia:
Eating secretly, visit the bathroom after meals, broken blood vessels, tight exercise regimes, mood swings, depression, self-criticism, sense of loss of control over eating behaviour, fear of not being able to stop eating, fatigue (=Ermüdung), muscle weakness, tooth ruin and need for acceptance from others.

The consequences of Bulimia are similar as those of Anorexia, but with some differences. Examples for the implications that vary are low blood pressure, dehydration, anemia, abdominal cramping (=Unterleibskrämpfe), dental problems and fertility problems causes by missing or irregular menstrual cycles.

Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation (=Ansammlung) that presents a risk to health. If we overeat regularly, we gain weight, and if we continue to gain weight, we may become obese. A person with a BMI equal to or more than 40 is considered obese.
Symptoms for obesity are excessive eating, ravenous appetite, loss of control their eating behavior, as just said a BMI over 40, depressions, social problems and so on.

Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes (daiabitiiis), cardiovascular diseases (=Herzkreislauferkrankungen) and cancer, stroke, sleep problems and high cholesterol level, but that are only a few of the numerous implications.

Prevention and Treatment
To prevent an eating disorder, you have to learn to accept your body and your weight. If you’re really overweight or underweight, it’s ok to make a diet, but always remember not to go over the top.
It’s important to handle food the right way, to eat when you’re hungry and stop timely. To keep your body fit do exercises regularly to feel good and don’t be a couch potato.

You can calculate if you’re weight is normal by the following formula.
Under 17 you’re way too thin, between 17-20 you’re still thin, between 20-25 is perfect, between 25-30 you’re a little bit overweight, between 30-40 you’re very overweight and over 40 you’re obese.

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