Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating periods followed by unhealthy behaviors for rapid weight loss such as inducing vomiting (90% of cases), laxative use, caffeine abuse and / or improper diets. Other methods to lose weight may involve the use of diuretics, stimulants, water fasting, or excessive exercise. Most people with bulimia have normal body weight. Forcing vomiting can cause thick joint skin and tooth erosion. There is also a high risk of suicide and self-harm.
Bulimia is very common among people who have a close relative who has suffered or suffers from this health problem. The estimated risk percentage attributable to genetic factors is between 30% and 80%. Other risk factors for the disease include psychological stress, cultural pressure to achieve a certain goal, lack of self-esteem and obesity.
The diagnosis is based on the person’s medical history; however it is difficult to identify because those with the disease tend to be very reserved about their habits. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the main treatment for bulimia. Although the prognosis for bulimia is generally better than for anorexia, the risk of death among affected people remains higher than that of the general population.
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