114) Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by self-induced starvation. Individuals with this condition typically exhibit bradycardia, hypotension, and a decreased heart size. These problems can eventually lead to death from heart failure. How does anorexia cause such symptoms?
The response to anorexia is the same as in starvation. To supply the needed energy, the body utilizes reserves of fat and protein. Once the heart has exhausted its available fat reserves, it begins to break down contractible fibers to use the amino acids from the protein as an energy source. Eventually, the size of the heart and the force of cardiac contraction decrease. The weakened heart cannot contract as quickly as before, and Bradycardia results. The combination of Bradycardia and a decreased force of contraction contribute to hypotension. Ultimately, the heart will pump so inefficiently that it will not be able to serve the needs of the body's tissues; death will occur as the result of