Society / Health & Science
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 09:23 EATsonindo@kenyafreepress.com
Society imposes a lot of pressure on people to look a certain way. It tends to lean prejudicially on the thinner side of the spectrum and for that reason; overweight and obese people lose their self confidence, therefore developing eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa being the most common one.
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder whereby a sufferer deliberately denies the body food for the purpose of losing weight or for the fear of gaining it. Females are the most affected as a result of exposure to the western definition of an ideal physique.
Rapidly eating its way through the lifestyles of many, no statistics have been put out yet to show the extent of damage brought about by Anorexia Nervosa in Kenya. It is this lack of documentation that sees a good number of Kenyan women especially those going through puberty suffer in silence.
Anorexia Nervosa can easily be pointed out through warning key signs, the most obvious one being deliberate starvation. In this case, sufferers turn down food claiming not to be famished when it is certain that Ghrelin, the hunger hormone responsible for increased appetite, is at its most active.
With food denial, comes dramatic weight loss. The recommended weight loss rate is no more than two pounds weekly. In the case of anorexics, weight loss of a whooping seven pounds or more per week is observed depending on the sufferer’s starting body weight.
Anorexics also obsess over their body weight and the caloric values of food. They eliminate whole food groups such as carbohydrates from their diet. In turn, this restriction leaves their bodies frail as carbohydrates are basically the ultimate energy giving foods.
Aside from a reduced metabolic rate, starvation is also the culprit behind the destruction of useful body cells. This is the main reason why vital body organs such as the liver and kidneys fail in anorexics. Anorexia Nervosa also leads to infertility. The body shuts down the reproductive system in order to spare more energy necessary for the sustenance of more crucial systems. In females, menstruation ceases. If Anorexia Nervosa goes untreated, death eventually occurs.
This is why the ministry of health urgently needs to address Anorexia Nervosa as a perilous health concern and have the necessary measures in place to rehabilitate anorexics before matters get out of hand.
Sandra is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press specializing in news, health and lifestyle coverage.