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Sticks and Stones: The Importance of Bone Health in Patients with Eating Disorders – Dr. Jennifer Watts

Although there are many health risks associated with eating disorders, bone health is a less known risk. While some of the other medical complications get better once normal eating is resumed, bone loss can be a more permanent problem. Osteoporosis is not just a problem for old people, and should be taken especially seriously for people with a history of eating disorders.

Key Takeaways:

  • Patients with anorexia nervosa, restricting subtype and purging subtype, are at particularly high risk for bone loss because weight loss puts them far below their ideal body weight.
  • Bone loss does not always improve with treatment. And, bone loss can have long-lasting and devastating effects — long after a patient is in recovery from their eating disorder.
  • Currently, the best option to improve bone health in patients with eating disorders is weight restoration and (for females) resumption of menses.

“Bone health in patients with eating disorders is often overlooked by doctors, but the time to diagnosis is critical.”


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