The health risks of bulimia can be very serious. Binge/purge episodes, particularly recurrent and/or chronic episodes, have profound effects on the body’s systems. Bulimic behaviors can disrupt the delicate balance of electrolytes and chemicals that keep vital organs functioning effectively and wreak havoc on the digestive system.
Specific health risks of bulimia include:
- Cardiac complications (irregular heartbeat and heart failure stemming from electrolyte imbalances)
- Edema (stemming from periods of purging cessation)
- Loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body
- Ulcers, pancreatitis
- Esophageal inflammation and/rupture (resulting from vomiting)
- “Bulimia teeth” or tooth decay and staining (caused by stomach acids/frequent vomiting)
- Digestive irregularity (chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation, stemming from laxative abuse)
- Fatigue, muscle weakness (from over-exercise)
- Risks associated with diabulimia (manipulating insulin for weight loss), including organ damage and peripheral neuropathy
Seek help immediately
Bulimia side-effects and health risks can be serious and long-lasting — even life-threatening. Bulimia treatment includes both medical and psychiatric intervention as well as the support of a specially-trained dietician to ensure that you are safely transitioning to healthy, life-sustaining nourishment. And lastly, intensive therapy is needed so that you can identify what’s driving your illness and how you can adopt new, healthy behaviors.
If you or someone you know is suffering from bulimia, please call 877-825-8584 to schedule a free consultation with an Eating Recovery Center Masters-level clinician.