What are the possible complications of anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Most complications of anorexia nervosa are secondary effects from starvation. Malnutrition subsequent to self-starvation leads to protein deficiency and disruption of multiple organ systems, including the cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurologic, endocrine, integumentary, hematologic, and reproductive systems. Endocrine and metabolic disturbances, for example, result in the following [73] :

  • Delayed puberty

  • Amenorrhea

  • Anovulation

  • Low estrogen states

  • Increased growth hormone

  • Decreased antidiuretic hormone

  • Hypercarotenemia

  • Hypothermia

  • Hypokalemia

  • Hyponatremia

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Euthyroid sick syndrome

  • Hypercortisolism

  • Arrested growth

  • Osteoporosis

In addition, decreased gonadotropin levels and hypogonadism may occur among males who are affected.

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