NUTRITION AND HEALTH

EATING DISORDERS AND LIFESTYLE DISEASES


I'm going to write about two lifstylediseases caused by overweight: cardiovascular disease and diabetes type 2. Im also going to write about the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. The number of people with these diseases have increased over the past few years, I will write about why this is and what one can do to prevent it.

Overweight:

Overweight has become an increasing problem in many countries, especially in the economically industrialised countries, over the past years. Machines and cars are taking over hard work, TV and internet is causing us to sit inside all day. But we still eat just as much even though we need less energy, and the body doesn’t say stop when it’s had enough. The body storages fat for when it needs it, that’s why people become overweight. Overweight isn’t just bad for your looks, it’s also bad for your health. It can lead to diseases such as diabetes 2, cancer or cardiovascular disease, also known as lifestyle diseases.

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Cardiovascular desease:

Is the second biggest cause of death in the west, right behind cancer. It is caused by the fat substance cholesterol. If you eat a lot of saturated fat or trans-fat, the body has to produce more cholesterol. Since the cholesterols function in the body is to carry the fat substances around in the veins, too much cholesterol can lead to arteriosclerosis. This makes the blood pressure rise. If some of the fat and calcium loosens, it is carried around in the body along with the blood and it makes embolisms. If the embolism reaches your heart or brain it can kill you.

Diabetes type 2:

Before it was mostly older people who got diabetes type 2, but today more young people are getting the diagnosis, most of them overweight. Only 2% of the population has diabetes, but of these 2%, 80-90% has type 2. Diabetes type 2 comes when the cells have a lacking ability to take up insulin from the blood. People who don’t work out or overweight are more exposed. It is actually proved that if you loose weight, the insulin starts to work normally again. If it is not treated properly, diabetes can lead to weaker sight or kidney failure, it also brings along risks for many other diseases.

What to do?

The Norwegian health authority advices youth to stay active for at least one hour every day, by that they just mean cycle instead of driving, walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Just get your heart beat a little up every day. Also one should avoid “empty calories”, such as candy and snacks. That’s food that only gives us a lot of energy for a short period of time.

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Anorexia Nervosa:

People who have Anorexia Nervosa live with a big fear of gaining weight, even though they might actually be underweight. A wrong impression of ones body is common if one has anorexia nervosa, it is a psychiatric suffering. Anorectics usually deny extreme weight losses, and it is usual to loose at least 15% of your normal weight. People with anorexia nervosa hardly eat anything and they exercise more than they should. When they eat, they get rid of the food by using pills or vomiting. The vomiting can give stomach aces and constipation. Anorectic people normally keep away from other people, and they isolate them selves from their friends

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Bulimia Nervosa:

Bulimia Nervosa is another eating disorder, and it is related to Anorexia Nervosa. If you have Bulimia Nervosa you will experience an irresistible urge for food right away, and eating lots of food in a short amount of time is very common. Afterwards you feel guilty and wish to loose the weight again. One way that is very common for people with Bulimia Nervosa to get rid off food is to throw it up again. This can cause eternal damage to their teeth and also they loose important salts from their body, but it psychologically makes them feel better. Other methods that they use are extreme diets or training. There are many side effects that follow Bulimia, disturbance on the rhythm of the heart (can in the worst cases lead to a heart attack), massive pains caused by cauterizing, bleedings or irritations inside the body and sores on the hands because of the vomiting.

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Why do people develop eating disorders?

It is usually girls in the ages 12 – 25 that get Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. Doctors aren’t quite sure why people get these diseases, but they agree that it must come from personal, social or cultural conditions. Seeing that we almost only have them in the west part of the world, the cultural reasons are probably the most correct. The ideal of the perfect body that we have here can be impossible to live up to, we also have enough food, which is an important element for Bulimians. Both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is relatively new diseases, so we don’t know that much about it yet. The treatments that are used on the two are quite similar; psychotherapy (conversations with family or professionals), nutrition guidance, medicines, keeping self-help journals where they write what they have eaten and keep control over their attacks of overeating or vomiting, in very serious cases one can be put in hospital. With Bulimia Nervosa a combination of drugs and psychotherapy has proved to be the most effective treatment. With Anorexia Nervosa on the other hand, drugs are very rarely used, only in serious cases. Half the people who get treatment for Bulimia Nervosa get cured, but one fourth keep on living with the disease. The treatment of Anorexia Nervosa goes over several years and after 3 years most people are cured. However some end up developing Bulimia Nervosa.

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Sources:

- Ekeland Per Roar m.fl. (2006), Nexus, Aschehoug
- Skårderud Finn, 27.10.03, http://www.lommelegen.no/322207/anorexia-nervosa (Lest: 26.02.09)
- Støvring Réne m.fl., 13.07.00, http://www.nettdoktor.no/sykdommer/fakta/bulimi.php (Lest 24.02.09)
- Støvring Réne m.fl., 13.07.00, http://www.nettdoktor.no/sykdommer/fakta/anoreksi.php (Lest 24.02.00)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorexia_nervosa (Lest: 26.02.09)