Recently labeled as “the disease of modern society”, anorexia nervosa commonly affects young women worldwide. Statistics indicate that anorexia nervosa has the highest prevalence among women with ages between 15 and 20, although even 5 year-old girls have been diagnosed with this type of eating disorder after following vegetarian diets and even restricting their food intake. These are very disturbing facts, considering the damage that anorexia can cause to the frail bodies of teenagers and adolescents.
Although in present anorexia nervosa can be effectively treated and its generated physical and psychological damage can be reversed, most young women are diagnosed with the disease long after they develop complications. Poor nutrition renders anorexic girls very susceptible to a wide range of physical affections. In time, girls with anorexia can develop disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, anemia, amenorrhea and in many cases, osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disorder of the skeletal system which causes the deterioration of bone tissues. Although this disorder is usually developed by the elderly, the majority of anorexic girls are affected by osteoporosis before the age of 20. Osteoporosis renders people vulnerable to fractures and on the premises of malnutrition and over-exercising, anorexic girls are very exposed to acquiring serious bone injuries.
The exact reasons why anorexic girls are so susceptible to developing osteoporosis remain unknown. However, poor intake of nutrients, excessive exercising, amenorrhea and decreased levels of estrogen have all been identified as factors that contribute to the development of osteoporosis among young anorexic girls. Traces of bone deterioration can be revealed in anorexic girls after only a few months of strict dieting and some bone damage can’t be always reversed. In most cases, osteoporosis continues to affect anorexic women long after they stop dieting and they maintain a normal body weight. Many young anorexic girls can suffer from weak bones for the rest of their lives if they don’t receive medical guidance at the right time.
Although estrogen replacement therapy can reverse the effects of osteoporosis for some girls with anorexia, this form of treatment is not always effective. Due to this fact, it is very important to reveal the presence of anorexia in young women before they develop osteoporosis. Girls that have been diagnosed with anorexia should take calcium and vitamin D supplements for preventing bone deterioration. Anorexic girls should also be frequently examined by an orthopedist for checking the integrity and the health of their skeletal system.