Eating disorders, of which anorexia nervosa and bulimia, are the most common, are psychiatric disorders which manifest in terms of food habits. The prevalence has increased dramatically in recent years and is continuing to rise. Currently about 125,000people in the U.K suffer from Bulimia nervosa and about 70,000 from Anorexia nervosa. Many more cases are undiagnosed or unreported.
Anorexia nervosa often occurs in girls who have recently gone through puberty. The peak age of incidence is 18-19 years. Its most common features are: self-imposed weight loss, lack of concern over the weight loss, a self-image of being a fat person despite emaciation, fear of weight gain, obsessive interest in food despite little of it being eaten, absence of menstruation.
It is important to recognize developing signs of the disorder so that help can be sought at an early stage. Body mass Index and the rate of fall of BMI indicate the severity of the disorder.
Bulimia nervosa is more common than anorexia. It is more difficult to treat than anorexia and 40% of cases remain chronically ill. Bulimics often have an over concern with shape and weight, a rigid restriction of food intake followed by episodes of bingeing and subsequent self-induced vomiting or purging. Use of laxatives and excessive levels of exercise are common.
How we assist patients with eating disorders
At the EveNutrition clinic we offer nutritional advice and support on an out-patient basis.
We closely monitor:
- Patient’s anthropometric measurements - including Bio-impedance analysis, Body mass Index, waist circumference.
- Dietary intake – by closely assessing the nutrient content and adequacy of their daily diet.
- We introduce and support dietary modifications according to the patient’s food habits and preferences.
- We provide regular feedback on the adequacy of patients day-to-day food via telephone and internet as required
- The aims of our nutritional rehabilitation are to restore normal weight and health in a way that is effective and acceptable to the patient and sustainable in the long term.
Patients not responding to treatment will be referred to in-patient treatment centres.
Each case is different, but these patients are often highly intelligent and also very knowledgeable about food, although not all their knowledge is well based. Often they need to arrive at a better understanding of the physiology of nutrition before they can move forward.
Our approach is first of all to find out what the patient’s own concerns are and engage with those, just as, later on, we find out what the patients food preferences are before trying to suggest any dietary changes.