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Woman Dentist Journal:Dental News Articles - <b>Be the First Line of Defense Against Eating Disorders</b> HOME | COMMUNITY | PUBLICATIONS | CONTINUING EDUCATION | EVENTS | NEW PRODUCTS | RESOURCE CENTER | NEWS | MEDIA KIT SUBSCRIBE: e-newsletter magazines About Us | Site Map SEARCH advanced Home > News > Health > Article Display Print this article Email this article Text Size | Add RSS Feed Be the First Line of Defense Against Eating Disorders February 14, 2009 Woman Dentist Journal Sometimes a dentist is the only person who can recognize the symptoms of anorexia — and save a life By Kimberly Dennis, MD Dental professionals may not work in the emergency room, but they can save lives. In the United States, as many as 10 million women and one million men are fighting a life-and-death battle with anorexia or bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. More often than not, dentists can provide the gateway to critical medical treatment for these individuals. By becoming aware of certain signs and symptoms, you can uncover illness that may otherwise go unnoticed — and untreated. With the right knowledge, you can save a life. A deadly disease spreads — faster January 2009 Eating disorders are potentially deadly, biologically based psychiatric illnesses. Current Issue Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness, nearly 12 Issue Archive times greater than any other cause of death among women between the ages of 15 and 24. What's more, eating disorders among young women are increasing at an alarming rate. Nationally, the incidence of bulimia in women ages 10 to 39 tripled between 1988 and 1993, and continues to grow. Resource Center Anorexia typically begins at the start of puberty and is more common among adolescent girls and young adult women. It affects 1% to 2% of the female Oral Cancer Prevention Center population, and 0.1% to 0.2% of men. Because more than 90% of all those who are Woman Dentist Journal Dental Continuing Education affected are adolescents and young women, the disorder has been characterized as Dental Practice Management primarily a young women's illness. But it should also be noted that males and children Looking for more news and information? Search Under One Roof Blog as young as 7 years old have been diagnosed with this illness, as well as middle- our archives. Click here! From The Editors Blog aged and elderly women. Download Center RECENTLY ARCHIVED ARTICLES Buyers Guides Patients are diagnosed with anorexia when their body weight falls to 85% or less of their normal, healthy weight. Typically, these patients have an obsessive AAWD chronicle Newsletter Media Kit White Papers preoccupation with body weight and calories, as well as an intense fear of gaining Building a Better You: Fortune Cookies & EQ MSDS Sheets weight or becoming fat. Their body image is grossly distorted, resulting in an CE Course: Modern Perspectives in Root Canal Application / Technique Guides unwarranted psychological impact on how they see and value themselves. Obturation Classified Ads Editor’s Note: [Know Your Numbers?] There are two types of anorexia nervosa: the restrictive eating type and the binge- eating/purging type. Binge eaters rapidly consume a large amount of high-calorie food It’s all about the SEX!: When it comes to health, your in a very short time — perhaps 1,500 to 3,000 calories or more. Those who purge sex matters. may do so with self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or the misuse of laxatives, Interested in a subscription to Woman Dentist diuretics, or enemas. Approximately 70% to 80% of people with bulimia purge by Journal Magazine? Click Here to subscribe! means of self-induced vomiting, while 30% use laxatives. Some who purge, however, do so without actually binge-eating first. Click Here to subscribe to the Woman Recognizing the danger signs Dentist Journal Feed. The physical complications associated with anorexia are potentially life-threatening, since dehydration and malnutrition can damage vital organs. This can result in: • Low blood pressure • Electrolyte imbalance • Cardiac arrhythmias • Thyroid gland deficiencies, which can lead to cold intolerance and constipation • Appearance of fine, babylike body hair • Bloating or edema • Decrease in white blood cells, leading to increased susceptibility to infection • Osteoporosis • Seizures related to fluid shifts due to excessive diarrhea or vomiting • Kidney damage or failure from chronic use of diuretics file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/mfield/Desktop/Be-the-First-Line-of-Defense-Against-Eating-Disorders.htm[2/24/2009 1:50:56 PM] Woman Dentist Journal:Dental News Articles - <b>Be the First Line of Defense Against Eating Disorders</b> Many times, dentists are the only medical professionals who see patients with eating disorders. Patients may avoid seeing their family doctors out of fear that their disorder will be recognized, but they feel comfortable going to the dentist. Even if the patient has seen a doctor, the signs of the illness may not be outwardly apparent. Dentists, however, can see a telltale sign: loss of tooth enamel. Patients who purge experience a gradual loss of enamel, which has few other causes. In anorexic patients who do not purge, there may be some minor enamel loss, but it will not be as pronounced. In addition, you may find: • Swollen salivary glands • A swollen or irritated tongue • Burst blood vessels in the eyes • Lanugo hair (fine, babylike body hair) • Russell's sign (excoriations on dorsum of fingers used to induce purging) If you recognize these signs, fight the urge to remain silent. Remember, denial is a big part of eating disorders — another reason they can become fatal and a major obstacle to recovery. Act in a caring and nonjudgmental way, simply stating what you see, and asking the patient how you can help. If at all possible, involve the patient's family members in the conversation. Because many young patients will have a parent present at their appointment, there is an ideal opportunity for you to engage with mom or dad and express your concerns. Most importantly, be prepared to make a referral and impart hope with the message that help is available. Give your patients and their families the name of a qualified eating disorders professional. Also, you can go to the Web site of the National Eating Disorders Association (www.myneda.org) or call Timberline Knolls at (877) 257- 9611, and we would be happy to help find a professional in your area. That referral just might save a life. Kimberly Dennis, MD, is the medical director at Timberline Knolls (www.timberlineknolls.com). Located in Lemont, Ill., this innovative residential treatment center is designed exclusively for women with emotional disorders, including eating disorders, addiction, and self-injury behavior. Dr. Dennis is a member of the American Medical Association, the Academy of Eating Disorders, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. | Add RSS Feed More February, 2009 Articles > Search Archives > Pennwell Dental Group Article Categories: Dental News Dental Headlines Video News Dental Products Industry News Current Issue Table of Contents Search Products Buyer's Guide > Magazine & E-Newsletter Subscriptions > file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/mfield/Desktop/Be-the-First-Line-of-Defense-Against-Eating-Disorders.htm[2/24/2009 1:50:56 PM]