'Beyond the Body' - An inner look about what happens in the ED victim's body

We know that in ED, the patient loses weight because they are not eating enough to meet their body's needs. But, for the sake of science, I want to share what exactly happens. This is important to know for many reasons: first, it can help patients see what ED is doing to their bodies and the harm that it causes. Second, it helps others learn why ED is dangerous, even if you see that a patient is not necessarily stick thin. And lastly, it gives us a better understanding of how much wotrk it takes to help the patient recover from this terrible illness. Before I start, let me warn you that this is not an exclusively long and detailed paper on ED and body changes. It is simply a modest attempt at raising awareness and helping others to understand why ED is deadly.

Le's start with the basics that we all know: ED makes patients lose weight. Why? The patient is not eating. So, naturally, their intake is less than output, and body weight decreases. But what happens on the molecular (or even smaller!) level? Well, no food/not enough food means that there is not enough glucose for metabolism to occur. Without glucose, the body slows down A LOT - especially the brain, because the brain can also use glucose for its energy needs. Without about 130g of carbohydrates a day, the brain loses energy. What about the rest of the body? Our bodies are very efficient because they can use proteins and fats to make energy. What does this mean? Let's think: if the body does not have carbs, it switches to using proteins and fats for energy. Where do the proteins and fats come from? Our stores: our muscles for breathing, walking, lifting items, etc. These are very important proteins, as you can imagine, so breaking them down is NOT a good thing. But our bodies are desperate for energy, so they use what they can: our muscles. This is why patients become so weak - their bodies break down all their muscles and protein to make energy! But now we come to yet another problem: we already learned that the brain cannot use this type of energy because it needs glucose (and can only use glucose) for fuel. So what happens to the brain? It starts slowing down. In many patients, we think that they cannot possibly be sick with ED because they are so smart and can think straight. This may be true, but that does not mean damage is not being done. The brain eventually can adapt to using other sources of fuel for about half of its needs, but it does not like doing this. In addition, the brain starts to shrink, like other muscles and important bodu proteins.

See how damaging starvation is? So, not only does ED make the patient lose weight, it also decreases their bodies reserve of functional proteins for breathing, like the diaphragm. If you think back to my story, do you remember how I could not breathe and needed to be put on a ventilator? This is why! My body had used up all my muscle proteins that I became too weak to walk or breathe! The brain also starts to shrink, and we are not yet sure if this can be fixed with refeeding. What about the rest of the body? Do you remember how I had kidney failure and needed dialysis? This was because is starvation, the body does not get enough fluids and is dehydrated. This REALLY damages kidneys because they need enough blood and fludis to function! To add to that, the kidneys are in charge of removing wastes. When we do not eat, our bodies break down proteins for energy. The remaining parts of the proteins not used for fuel need to be removed from the body - and this is accomplished by the kidneys. Well, if the kidneys do not have enough blood/fluids, how are they going to do that?! This, in turn, can have long-lasting effects on the kidneys. The stomach also shrinks because it is not getting enough energy. Also, without enough vitamins and minerals (and proteins, carbs, and fats), our bodies cannot make what they need to make in terms of proteins/cells. So, the hair begins to thin and fall out, the skin becomes dry, the face becomes pale (anemia, a lack of iron), and the body cannot fight off infections properly. WOW. Who knew so much damage can come from not eating well?!

There is SO much more to talk about, but this is just some of the main points I wanted to bring to your attention. Every single organ and cell in the body is affected when one does not eat enough. I also want to reinforce that even if a patient looks well (ex. is not thin, is not pale, etc), they can still be VERY sick. The body is extremely efficient and can adapt and try to survive as much as it can. But, eventually, it loses the battle and collapses. The patient can die any minute. I am being serious. I have known patitents with ED who were fine one day and collapsed dead the next day. The body can pass out any minute because it cannot fight anymore. Don't take this chance with ED. Get help for yourself, or for whoever is suffering. They may LOOK fine, they may FEEL fine, but at any time, they might not handle the pressure and may not live another day. It is that serious. Please, oh please, do not waste another day convincing yourself that you are not sick enough to get help or treatment. Because ED knows no limits, and will not stop until you are DEAD.

Popular posts from this blog

Starvation 'feels' good...?

Lessons from infants: 'Taking it all in'

Watch My Latest Presentation: What Future Doctors Need to Know About ED