Get exclusive member benefits & effect social change. Join Today
TUESDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- People with eating disorders, especially those with anorexia nervosa, have an increased risk of death, a new study indicates.
English researchers analyzed 36 English-language studies -- published between January 2006 and September 2010 -- that looked at anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified.
Anorexics mistakenly believe they are fat and deny themselves food. Bulimics overeat and purge, usually by vomiting or using laxatives.
There were a total of 17,272 patients in the studies, which reported 755 deaths. The meta-analysis revealed that for each 1,000 person-years, 5.1 deaths occurred among anorexia patients (1.3 of which were suicide), 1.7 deaths among bulimia patients, and 3.3 deaths among patients with other eating disorders. (A meta-analysis pools and analyzes statistical data from different studies investigating similar questions.)
The standardized mortality ratio (the number of actual deaths compared with the number of expected deaths) was 5.86 for anorexia, 1.93 for bulimia, and 1.92 for other eating disorders.
Among anorexia patients, those in their late teens and 20s had a higher death rate than younger patients or those in their 30s, said Jon Arcelus of Leicester General Hospital and colleagues.
The study is published in the July issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
While noting that some of the deaths might be attributable to other causes, the authors said that death rates for eating disorders, especially anorexia, are higher than for schizophrenia and depression.
More research is needed to identify the factors that raise risk of death in people with eating disorders, the authors said.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about eating disorders.
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.
Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.
Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.
Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.