How Eating Disorders Can Shorten Life Expectancy

Eating disorders are known to shorten life expectancy, as well as potentially negatively affect your life insurance premium. A study recently posted in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that persons who suffered from an overeating disorder, and in turn obesity, costs businesses over $73 billion a year. These persons suffer from high blood pressure problems, heart disease, diabetes, and are more susceptible to illnesses such as the common cold or flu. According to a survey done by Dr. Whitlock of ” Lancet” magazine, “Due to extra weight putting a strain on the heart and internal organs, morbid obesity, or those with a BMI, or Body Mass Index, of above 30, are projected to shorten their life expectancy by 10 years.” Obesity, after smoking is the second leading cause of early preventable death.

For those suffering from anorexia, doctors in Canada have done a study showing that, “women who suffer from anorexia reduce their lifespan by approximately 25 years.” Persons suffering from anorexia generally suffer side effects such as low blood pressure, anemia, osteoporosis and internal organ failure. The kidneys and the liver can be severely damaged in someone suffering from anorexia and can shut down.

Bulimia, puts a large strain on the body with the binge and purge cycles. Bulimia users may use laxatives, enemas, and vomiting to rid the body of food. Unlike anorexia where people show a large amount of weight loss, or obesity, where sufferers show a large weight gain, a person who suffers from bulimia may only show a weight fluctuation of 10-15 pounds. People suffering from bulimia may have heart attacks or stroked as the fluid and electrolyte balances within their bodies are thrown out of balance during the purge cycle. Constant vomiting may also eat away at the teeth and the lining of the throat. Even after “recovery”, medical doctors from the NIMH, the National Institute for Mental Health, believe that bulimia shortens life expectancy by 5-7 years.

While women are the primary sufferers of anorexia and bulimia, men may be the primary sufferers of morbid obesity. Each of these disorders, even after treatment, can still lower life expectancy due to the stress put on the body, heart, and other internal organs. Families and friends who suspect loved ones of suffering from an eating disorder should contact a family physician and also their local mental health clinic.

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  • Ron Smith, CLU Licensed Life Insurance Agent, for Ron has been a CLU Licensed Life Insurance Agent in Louisiana for more than 22 years. He has a B.S. in Economics from LSU-S. He has been married for 21 years and has 4 amazing children.