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Eating disorder may raise psychiatric conditions, early death risk: Study


New Delhi, June 12
People with anorexia nervosa -- an eating disorder -- may be at high risk of developing psychiatric conditions and early death, according to a study on Wednesday.

The Mayo Clinic defines anorexia nervosa as an eating disorder where people suffer from an abnormally low body weight and an intense fear of gaining weight.

The study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, showed that mortality rates are high in patients with anorexia nervosa and nearly double when coupled with psychiatric conditions.

For the study, investigators analysed data on 14,774 patients who were followed for a median time of 9.1 years (and up to 40 years).

The results showed that people with anorexia nervosa had a 4.5 times higher risk of dying during follow-up compared with those in the general population.

Of all the patients, 47 per cent reported psychiatric conditions, which raised their risk of early death by 1.9-fold compared with those without.

When diagnosed between age 6 and 25 years, anorexia nervosa coupled with a psychiatric condition was associated with a 4-fold higher risk of 10-year mortality.

The mortality risk was similar according to sex. Also, 13.9 per cent of all deaths in patients with anorexia nervosa were due to suicide.

"These findings highlight the crucial need for clinicians to recognise additional mental health disorders in adolescents and adults with anorexia," said Mette Soeby, a doctoral student at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.