Anorexia Nervosa In Nigeria | What Nigerians Need To Know About This Eating Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa In Nigeria | What Nigerians Need To Know About This Eating Disorder

October 23, 2018 0 By mcsenior
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Anorexia Nervosa: Anorexia Signs, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment Options In Nigeria

Anorexia nervosa is a serious medical condition where people eat so little leading to unhealthy weight loss. People suffering from anorexia in Nigeria usually become dangerously thin, thinking they are overweight or fat even when they are underweight or thin & may eventually lead to death. Anorexia in Nigeria is more common among girls and women than boys and men and can be managed with treatment.

Anorexia In Nigeria: Definition

Anorexia nervosa, often called anorexia, is a type of eating disorder and a mental health problem that cause extreme and dangerous eating behaviors that may result in serious health problems and sometimes death. Some eating disorders also involve extreme exercise.

People suffering from anorexia usually avoid eating having an intense fear of gaining weight and may think they are fat even when they are thin. They tend to go into rigorous exercise with the aim of losing weight, & eating so little food which may leads to serious health problems and sometimes death.

How Common Is Anorexia In Nigeria?

Anorexia is an eating disorder considered to be common in Nigeria with estimated rate of more than 100 thousand cases recorded annually in the country.

Anorexia In Nigeria: Difference Between Anorexia And Other Eating Disorder

There are other kinds of eating disorder apart from anorexia which include bulimia and binge eating disorder. People suffering from these conditions have a mental health condition that affects how they eat, and sometimes how they exercise. These eating disorders threaten their health.

Unlike women with bulimia and binge eating disorder, girls and women with anorexia do not eat enough to sustain basic bodily functions. Women with bulimia and binge eating disorder usually binge, or eat too much while feeling out of control.

It is possible to have more than one eating disorder in your lifetime. Regardless of what type of eating disorder you may have, you can get better with treatment.

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Who Is At Risk Of Having Anorexia In Nigeria?

• More common among girls and women with age range 13 – 20+
• Less common among boys and men
• Less common among older women

Likely Symptoms Of Anorexia?

Anorexia is usually characterized with both physical and psychological changes; where the affected person looks thin and behaves strangely.
Other noticeable symptoms of anorexia in Nigeria include:

• Feeling distressed
• Always temperamental
• Inability to think clearly
• Difficulty with memory or making decision
• Hair and nails becomes weak and breakable
• Internal body temperature resulting into frequent cold
• Fatigue
• Feeling exhausted and sluggish
• Irregular periods or never getting a period
• The skin becomes dry, spotty and discolored
• Growth of fine hair all over the body (called lanugo)
• Severe constipation or bloating
• Weak muscles or swollen joints
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Substance abuse

Girls or women with anorexia may also have behavior changes such as:

• They often discuss weight or food at all times
• They don’t eat regularly and when they do, they only eat very little
• They prefer eating on their own in the absence of others
• They prefer staying alone, not mingling with friends
• They may make themselves throw up
• They like taking laxatives or weight loss supplements
• They are addicted to exercise

Anorexia In Nigeria: What Causes Anorexia?

As at the time of writing this post, there is still no certainty as regards the causes of anorexia and other eating disorders even though factors are considered to be a risk factor to a large extent. Those factors are combination of a person’s biology and life events which comprises of:

• Some specific type of genes
• A person’s biology
• Body image and self-esteem
• social experiences
• Family health history
• Other mental health illnesses
Research is ongoing to study the unusual activities in the brain, such as changing levels of serotonin or other chemicals, to see how it may affect eating.

Anorexia In Nigeria: How Does Anorexia Affect Nigerian Woman’s Health?

People suffering from anorexia in Nigeria usually don’t get enough energy and nutrients the body need from food and this may result into serious health complication at the detriment of the entire body. Anorexia might affect the body over a long period of time in the following ways:

• Heart problems, including low blood pressure, a slower heart rate, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and sudden death from heart problems
• It may result into anemia because the red blood cells will be unable to carry oxygen to the body as well as other serious blood problems
• Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
• Kidney stones or kidney failure
• Lack of periods, making it difficult to pregnant
• It is a higher risk factor for miscarriage, cesarean delivery, or having a baby with low birth weight during pregnancy.

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It is believed according to report that people suffering from this medical condition also have serious mental problems like depression or anxiety; they need proper medical attention because if they are left without proper attention, it may eventually lead to death.
Those who are treated can still live a normal life and rich the normal body weight after full recovery.

Anorexia In Nigeria: How Anorexia Is Diagnosed

You need to consult your doctor for proper diagnoses when you notice any strange eating pattern or behavior, the doctor will then ask you certain questions you need to answer with honesty to know the best way to help you.

Your doctor will do a physical exam; examine your medical history and other tests, such as blood tests and a urine test, to rule out other health problems that may cause severe weight loss.

Your doctor may also do other tests, such as kidney function tests, bone density tests, or an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), to see if or how severe weight loss has affected your health.

Anorexia In Nigeria: Treatment Options For Anorexia

You may need a team of doctors, nutritionists, and therapists who will work to help you get better. The assistance of your family members may also be needed to guide you during the course of your treatment.
Treatment plans may include one or more of the following:

Nutrition therapy: Doctors, nurses, and counselors will help you eat healthy to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Some girls or women may need to be hospitalized or live temporarily at a medical facility to make sure they eat enough to recover. Hospitalization may also be required to monitor any heart problems in people with anorexia. Reaching a healthy weight is a key part of the recovery process so that your body’s biology, including thoughts and feelings in your brain, work correctly.
Psychotherapy: Sometimes called “talk therapy,” psychotherapy is counseling to help you change any harmful thoughts or behaviors. This therapy may focus on the importance of talking about your feelings and how they affect what you do. You may work one-on-one with a therapist or in a group with others who have anorexia. For girls with anorexia, counseling may involve the whole family.
Support groups can be helpful for some people with anorexia when added to other treatment. In support groups, girls or women and sometimes their families meet and share their stories.
Medicine: Studies suggest that medicines like antidepressants can help some girls and women with anorexia by improving the depression and anxiety symptoms that often go along with anorexia.
Most girls and women do get better with treatment and are able to eat and exercise in healthy ways again. Some may get better after the first treatment. Others get well but may relapse and need treatment again.

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Anorexia In Nigeria: How Does Anorexia Affects Pregnancy?

Anorexia can cause problems getting pregnant and during pregnancy.
Extreme weight loss can cause missed menstrual periods because you may not ovulate, or release an egg from the ovary. When you do not weigh enough to ovulate, it is difficult to get pregnant.
Anorexia can also cause problems during pregnancy. Anorexia raises your risk for:

• Miscarriage
• Premature birth (also called preterm birth), or childbirth before 37 weeks of pregnancy
• Delivery through cesarean section (C-section)
• Having a low birth weight baby (less than five pounds, eight ounces at birth)
• Depression after the baby is born known as postpartum depression

If I Had An Eating Disorder In The Past, Can I Still Get Pregnant?

Those who have fully recovered from anorexia always have a normal healthy weight and normal menstrual cycle which is a factor needed to get pregnant and having a safe pregnancy.
If you had an eating disorder in the past, it may take you a little longer to get pregnant (about six months to a year) compared to women who never had an eating disorder.

If I Take Medicine To Treat Anorexia, Can I Breastfeed My Baby?

You may need to discuss with your doctor if you are nursing and still taking medicines to treat anorexia because some medicines used to treat anorexia can pass through breast milk. Certain antidepressants can be used safely during breastfeeding.

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