Bulimia affects different organs. And the longer you have bulimia the more organs get affected and damaged.
The organs that suffer the most are: heart, kidney, brain, digestive system, bones, skin and endocrine glands.
The heart gets damaged from the constant electrolyte imbalances caused by continuous purging and becomes weaker the longer the bulimia continues. Some people even can die from this complication when a weak heart goes into a “heart block”. This is when the heart suddenly stops beating due to extremely low potassium or other mineral deficiency induced by vomiting and laxatives abuse.
Kidney damage is very common among long term bulimics. The kidneys are organs that normally correct mineral abnormalities in the body. But when a person’s mineral balance is constantly disturbed, like in case of bulimia, the kidneys are under enormous strain to correct it and eventually they get damaged.
The brain suffers also from the moment bulimia starts. People have distorted thought patterns like depression and anxiety. The longer bulimia goes on for the stronger the addiction to binging and purging becomes. The long time effects of brain damage from bulimia are: suicidal thoughts, self-cutting and other self-harm symptoms. Impulsive behavior can occur and people can become less responsible for their action.
The digestive system also gets affected badly. The stomach experience delays in empting its food content and people suffer from pains in the abdominal area, bloating, acid reflux, stomach ulcers and esophageal problems.
In long standing bulimia cases sufferers loose the feeling of being hungry or full. Sometimes their taste distorts which makes them eat strange combinations of food or experience cravings (for example craving to eat very salty or sour things).
The bones become weak due to the development of low bones density after many years of suffering from bulimia. People can and do complain about their bone’s aching plus they have lots of pain and the bones can break from even minimal strain or pressure.
Skin looses its youthful look even at a relatively young age. Dry skin, inflammation of the skin, abnormal irritation and ongoing pimples are common problems for bulimics.
Hair loss due to mineral and protein depletion is inevitable in long term bulimia.
The endocrine glands eventually stop working properly and produce fewer hormones than the body needs: this makes a person age quickly and loose muscle tone.
Menstruation becomes irregular or stops and because of this a woman is unable to conceive and have a baby.
To sum up, the long term effects of bulimia nervosa can be extremely dangerous. And treatment for this disorder becomes more complicated the longer it goes on.
The best way is to prevent these dangerous effects from happening is to treat the disease sooner rather than later.
The best thing is to start educating yourself and your family about what to do and what to change at home to help the sufferer. Home and family support are proven to be the best way of treating this condition. But it has to be the right help and the right support.