Eating disorder death risk 6 times higher in men

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Anorexia nervosa is often seen as a disorder that primarily affects females, but this is not the whole story. Males can suffer from anorexia too, and when they do, it’s particularly dangerous.

In fact, men with anorexia are six times more likely to die than their peers who don’t have the disorder.

Recognizing the urgency of this issue, a recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal highlights the need for increased awareness and early treatment of anorexia in males.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that can lead to death if not treated promptly.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental health, especially when it comes to males with eating disorders.

This stigma can make it hard for boys and men to seek help, often leading to a delay in treatment and worse health outcomes.

It’s estimated that up to 0.3% of males will be diagnosed with anorexia at some point in their lives. Certain groups of adolescent males are more at risk than others.

Athletes, for example, who are involved in sports that focus on body image and strength, such as cycling, running, and wrestling, have a higher chance of developing anorexia.

The disorder also disproportionately affects males who are gay, bisexual, trans, and queer, as well as those from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

One of the ways to identify anorexia in males is to look out for an unhealthy focus on building muscle and using diet changes, vomiting, excessive exercise, supplements, and anabolic steroids to achieve this goal.

There’s even a specific tool called the Muscularity Oriented Eating Test that helps spot these behaviors.

Anorexia can lead to serious health complications, including problems with vital signs, a slow heart rate, and abnormalities in electrolytes among others.

These complications can be life-threatening, which is why it’s crucial to get a detailed medical history, perform a thorough physical examination, and run blood tests to catch these issues early and start treatment.

For males with anorexia, family-based treatment is often recommended. This approach involves the family, especially the parents, playing a key role in helping their child recover by leading the efforts to re-nourish them.

Most of the time, this treatment can happen outside of a hospital setting, with regular medical monitoring to ensure the adolescent’s health is on the right track. However, in some severe cases, hospital treatment may be necessary.

The article stresses the importance of early identification and quick action. By understanding the signs of anorexia in males and taking immediate steps towards treatment, it’s possible to greatly improve the chances of recovery.

It’s a reminder that anorexia nervosa is not just a female disorder; it’s a human disorder that requires our attention and care, regardless of gender.

The research findings can be found in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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