Saturday, 11 January 2014

'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.


  1. Fear is our number one enemy.
    I do believe if We deal with our fears and worries we will be the happiest.
    I am taking more courses of CBT to help my self,families,clients in the future how to treat and prevent feeling afraid and worried.
    Most if not all our fears are not true,just fears

    With my humble respect


  2. Lots of people and even doctors do not know how serious is anorexia nervosa and do not know what happens in your body when you have it .
    Good new recovery is real and you are a real witness .


  3. Marina
    In this wonderful post you used your talent in writing along with thorough search and your high knowledge to come up with one page summary of what ED is about,how serious and how hard is the recovery.
    I urge every body to read this post and learn from it.

    Recovered ED survivor x7 years

  4. That is too much medical info.
    Well done Marina


  5. I have to admit that I almost lost my intelligence and I was forgetting many things and before I went to treatment I scored the lowest ever in my life even I used to be A+ or B+ before I got sick with ED.
    I was told by doctors treating me that my brain shrunk as well as my muscles and my bones.
    I assure you now I feel I regained all my brain function and I bet I am as smart as before.
    I will never ever play games again with ED and I will defend my self against any invasion by ED


  6. Holly
    How damaging this serious disease.
    I pray that no one ever ever on earth has to suffer this terrible disease.

    May God bless you Marina and all your readers

    Sunday Priest

  7. You are right Marina
    This is really true Ed will not stop unless either you cured or dead.
    I am from To and many Ontarian aware of the Cardiologist daughter who died from ED complication and the Ed was so advanced that all the hospitals and doctors could not save her life.
    I am pleased to see your optimism to help as many as you can and save people life.

    Kelly W

  8. Yes if our faith is bigger than any fear,We fear not
    Why We fear the unknown??
    I learnt how to leave every thing in the hands of God and I will not worry and this helped me to feel,think and sleep better and above all enjoy my life and became more productive.


  9. What a very descriptive pictures and post


  10. If you remember I was heading towards Ed but luckily I met you over this blog and now I am fine and thankfully course reversed.
    This ED may start unintentionally but insidiously steal the life of people.




  12. Jesus Saves <3

    Katie Jane

  13. I am thankful there are good people on earth like you,writing positive helpful blogs to raise awareness to prevent illness and let her experience and knowledge benefit others.


  14. If ED spreading fears among us,God is shedding lights all over us to dispel any fears.
    If God with us ,no body or ED against us.
    Your recovery is the best gift from heaven and you are spending too much time in this blog to help others
    May God bless you


  15. As you recall not only Ed hit me hard and I suffered from all symptoms of ED as the pictures here illustrate but also Ed blocked my mind and my brain and made me unaware that I was so sick and block me from getting any help.Only you through this blog motivated me and saved my life soon before death.
    Now I can feel how good to recover and I am committed to myself and my recovery.
    I will tell my friends about this disease and if I can help one person to prevent falling victim of Ed is more than enough


  16. Excellent summary reminder of seriouness of this monster and how good recovery is.
    I also like the comments written by your readers

  17. If you never heard about Ed and you read this post and look at pictures ,you will know how decvastaing ED is .
    This is a very good extinct summary that I recommend others to keep a copy.


  18. What I admire the most about your blog is the opportunity here for people withED who prefer silence(ED is secretive illness) is to speak ,read and leave comments in secret ,no body knows your identity.
    The best way to deal with stress,anxiety and problem is to bring all those problems to people esepcailly to those who are able to listen


  19. Excellent post Marina

  20. For sure you are not only skillful nurse but talented writer as well.


  21. This post is well searched .
    You are a GEM



  22. The benefits of recovery only can be felt if you tasted the bitterness of the illness.I can nit imagine that ED that serious as explained clearly here.
    I am very thankful that I see people recovering


  23. There are good people every where .You are one of them.
    Your blog is credible and deserves respect


  24. I agree with Sorina.
    You are determined to continue advocating and raising awareness about serious illness.
    Good deed Marina


  25. Holly Marina
    I bet if I waited one more year for my daughter ,she would have had the fully blown symptoms of ED mentioned here.
    I can take this opportunity again to thank you for guiding me to help my daughter. She is fine now and We had very good XMAS that We have not had like it for years
    May God bless you

    JP( a thankful mother)

  26. I thank God every day for your recovery and for your willing to help others.
    How loving and caring you are.
    May God bless you.


  27. I admire you for being committed and reliable person.
    As far as I can tell ,you are taking your own responsibility for your recovery and you are doing very well at school and you are committed to this blog that help many others and I hope you keeping time for your fun.


  28. I made a copy of this post and the pictures and I will share with my friends who I am worried may have disordered eating.


  29. I learnt from this post about ED more than when I last reviewed it in my Toronto notes.
    I will share this info with my colleagues as well and may pass a copy on to friends who I suspect may have ED or DE.

    Good work Marina


  30. Despite you are raising awareness again and again about the seriousness of the disease, your blog is intriguing and motivating to victims to seek help and not succumb to this monster.


  31. Your post is very motivating.


  32. This post is one of the best
    Your blog is very unique and make sense and worth spending time reading it


  33. I agree this is one of the best posts.


  34. I like this post

    S K

  35. I read the statics carefully and what a surprize .
    I do believe 99% of Canadians not aware of this monster.
    Kudos for those who recovered.


  36. Anorexia affects whole body!!!!


  37. When We trust God ,we will not worry at all.



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