Are you willing to risk Death from bulimia?
When I was bulimic, I remember wondering if death from bulimia was common. I never found much information about it, but was sure that 'bulimia death' did happen. I could feel it in my body... bulimia was killing me, one bit at a time.
It took over a decade of bulimia and a severe electrolyte imbalance to finally drive me to recovery. I knew it was a 'do or die' situation... I had to recover.
I managed to avoid death from bulimia... but others have not been so lucky.
One person, who springs to mind is Terri Schiavo...
My heart aches when I think about this poor lady. Terri Schiavo had an electrolyte imbalance as a result of her bulimia. This caused her to have a massive heart attack which resulted in brain damage. She was then placed on a feeding tube to keep her body alive. 15 years later, her husband won a controversial court case which allowed her feeding tube to be removed. It took Terri's body over 2 weeks to die of starvation.
Death from bulimia can be cruel. It's usually unexpected and arrives unannounced - especially for family and friends who often have no idea that their loved one is suffering from bulimia.
What happened to Terri Schiavo could so easily have happened to me.
What conditions Can cause death from bulimia?
There are many conditions and complications that can cause death from bulimia. But, if you actively work towards recovery and get checked by your doctor regularly, you will hugely decrease your changes of suffering from any of the following...
9 conditions that Can cause death from bulimia:
1. Ketoacidosis: This is when high acid levels build up in your blood. It is an extremely dangerous condition that can lead to sudden coma and death.
2. Seizures or Fits: Bulimics have a higher chance of suffering from seizures or fits. These can cause brain damage and even death.
3. Pancreatitis: This potentially life threatening illness is when digestive enzymes attack your pancreas. It can be caused by the excessive use of laxatives or diet pills.
4. Electrolyte Imbalance: Dehydration, the loss of potassium and the loss of sodium can cause electrolyte imbalances. Abnormal electrolyte levels are common in bulimics. They can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death as was the case with Terri Schiavo.
5. Suicide and Depression: Depression and bulimia are two intertwined illnesses... In many cases it's hard to know which one came first. In all depressed people, suicide is a potential killer.
6. Cardiac Arrest: This is one of the scariest causes of death from bulimia. Cardiac arrest can strike at any time. It is one of the most common killers of bulimia sufferers.
7. Gastric Rupture: A gastric rupture can occur when you eat huge amounts during a binge. Although they are not very common, they often result in death.
8. Hypo and Hyperglycemia: These can be caused when your blood sugar levels are too high or too low. This is usually the result of bingeing and purging/fasting. Hypo and hyperglycemia can result in lots of different life threatening complications.
9. Barrett's Esophagus: Bulimia can cause Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This can lead to a condition called Barrett's Esophagus... A very small % of people who have Barretts Esophagus will develop cancer. This can be easily prevented though by going for yearly screens with a specialist who will monitor you for life. You deserve this preventative care - so please, if you suffer from reflux, get yourself checked out :)
But, Our Bodies Are Resilient - They Can Bounce Back!
I hope that this article reminds you how important it is to work on your bulimia recovery. Bulimia is dangerous, there is no question about that... But, our bodies are also resilient and when we give them the chance, they can bounce back!
Do one thing today that will be a step forward towards bulimia recovery... Here are some ideas:
- Make an enquiry with an eating disorder therapist to see if they could help treat you
- Research bulimia treatment centers
- Talk to somebody you trust about your bulimia
- Sign up to my newsletter to receive monthly recovery tips (Below)
- Join The Bulimia Recovery Program
Whatever you decide to do, I hope and pray for your recovery - I know you can do it!
Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of your-bulimia-recovery.com
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community