Anorexia symptoms can be physical, behavioral, and psychological. The physical symptoms of anorexia often gradually worsen over the course of the eating disorder. These anorexia symptoms can become life threatening.
The most obvious physical symptom of anorexia is weight loss. The weight loss can cause other physical symptoms associated with malnutrition. The skin may develop a yellowish tint. The person with anorexia may have brittle nails and dry skin.
Habitual use of laxatives or frequent vomiting can cause a potentially fatal electrolyte imbalance. Overuse of laxatives and starvation cause gastrointestinal symptoms of anorexia. The person may struggle with constipation and abdominal pain.
Anorexia can cause abnormal hair growth. People with anorexia may grow fine, downy hair on their bodies. Though the people with anorexia may grow extra hair on their bodies, they may experience hair loss affecting the hair on their heads.
The thyroid gland and other parts of the endocrine system are negatively impacted by anorexia. The thyroid gland responds to the starvation by slowing down the person’s metabolism. Women with anorexia often stop menstruating with has consequences for fertility and bone density.
Anorexia affects the heart and circulatory system. The heart may develop a slower than normal heart rate. Anorexics often have low blood pressure as a symptom of anorexia. Though this is not usually dangerous, an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia can be caused by anorexia. Restrictive eating reduces iron intake which causes anemia. Anemia decreases the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
A weak immune system is a physical anorexia symptom. This can leave the person susceptible to disease and infection. A person with anorexia is at risk for developing chronic fatigue syndrome.
One of the possibly fatal anorexia symptoms is kidney damage from malnutrition and dehydration. The effects on the kidneys can be minor and cause decreased urination or potentially serious with the threat of kidney failure.
Some anorexic behaviors cause more physical symptoms of anorexia. The compulsive exercising of some people with anorexia can cause serious skeletal and muscular injuries. Over-exercising can damage the joints and ligaments. Some people with anorexia habitually make themselves vomit which erodes tooth enamel.