Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Friday, October 16, 2015

Eating Disorder Update

Eating disorders are serious, life threatening illnesses that impact millions of people every year in the United States. Did you know that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder? In the U.S., 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).

Despite the prevalence of eating disorders, many health care providers don’t feel comfortable discussing eating disorders with their patients. And many people with eating disorders don’t reach out for help.

Allegany College of Maryland, the Dietetic Caucus of the Western Maryland Area Health Education Center and the Allegany/Garrett Dental Society are partnering to present an Eating Disorder Update to be held on Friday, October 30 from 10 AM -3 PM at the ACM Robert Zimmer Theatre. This update is designed for counselors, dental professionals, primary care providers, dietitians, nurses, social workers and interested members of the general public.

For more information and to register, click on this link:

A great resource for eating disorders is the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) website (  Here are some of the possible health consequences of eating disorders outlined on their website:

Anorexia Nervosa
In anorexia nervosa’s cycle of self-starvation, the body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally. Thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, resulting in:
Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing. The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.
Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones.
Muscle loss and weakness.
Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.
Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness.
Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common.
Growth of a downy layer of hair—called lanugo—all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.

The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Health consequences include:
Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death.
Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body as a result of purging behaviors.
Potential for gastric rupture during periods of binging.
Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.
Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.
Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis.

Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder often results in many of the same health risks associated with clinical obesity, including:
High blood pressure.
High cholesterol levels.
Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels.
Type II diabetes mellitus.
Gallbladder disease.

During the upcoming Eating Disorder Update, presenters include Dana Magee, registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist with Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, Sarah Evans, LPC, NCC, NCGC1, professional counselor, and dentist Dr. Bobbi Moose, DDS, MPH.  They will define the most common eating disorders, explain current best practices in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders, list the physical, psychosocial and oral health impacts of disordered eating, explain the roles of the dentist, dietitian and therapist in treating eating disorders and discuss resources for obtaining additional information and referrals.

For more information about the Eating Disorder Update or to register, click on the above link. If you have questions, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian and Chair of the AHEC Dietetic Caucus at 240-964-8416.

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