Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

How Do Eating Disorders Affect the Heart?

Eating disorders are serious—even life-threatening. That’s because eating disorders are never really about food, nor are they merely about body image or self-esteem. Eating disorders are all-encompassing in their destruction; they have a savage effect on body and mind alike. That includes a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, putting eating disorder patients at a much higher risk for potentially fatal heart disease. That’s an ill effect of eating disorders that often goes unmentioned, yet it’s critical to understand the ways in which eating disorders take their toll on the body. And since February is American Heart Month, there is no time like now to review some of the dangerous implications eating disorders have for cardio health.

How Eating Disorders Affect the Heart

Different eating disorders impact the body in different ways. Take anorexia nervosa as an example. Among its many effects, this eating disorder can lead to an abnormal slowdown in the heart rate, as well as low blood pressure. And as these numbers sink lower, the risk of a heart attack only rises higher. Bulimia comes with its own set of side effects. One of these is an electrolyte imbalance, the consequences of which can include not only an irregular heartbeat, but even heart failure and death. Binge eating disorders have many clinical side effects such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, the potential for diabetes and a significantly elevated risk of heart disease.

Hope for the Heart

Obviously, the particular effects can vary, but one thing is true across the board: Eating disorders hurt the body, and more specifically effect the heart. Healing and recovery are possible, but require clinical treatment to be sought. If you know someone struggling with an eating disorder, encourage them to seek care today. Their very life could depend on it. What do you do to keep your heart healthy? Share your tips on Facebook!