Know the Signs: Eating Disorders Cause Long Term Damage

By Cristina Mestre

Did you know that 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder at some point during their lifetime?  Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that can cause long-term physical and emotional damage.

This week marks the National Eating Disorders Association’s NED Awareness Week, an effort to spread knowledge and increase outreach about eating disorders, as well as to reduce stigma and improve access to treatment.

This year’s theme is “everybody knows somebody” with an eating disorder. That might include you.  Read on to learn the signs and symptoms. And be sure to check out UPMC's Liz McCabe, Ph.D., an eating disorders expert, who will participate in a Twitter chat today at 1 p.m.

Signs of a possible eating disorder include:

Common eating disorders include:

Eating disorders increase the risk of heart failure, kidney failure, ulcers, high blood pressure and other diseases. But the good news is that eating disorders are treatable – and preventable.

If you think you know someone who might have an eating disorder, contact your doctor for a consultation or reference.  In the Pittsburgh area, you can also learn more about the COPE (Center for Overcoming Problem Eating) treatment program and how it can help you, or a loved one, regain control.