Understanding the Impact of Eating Disorders on Bones


The word “osteoporosis” comes from a Latin root which means, “porous bones.” It’s generally caused by age and deterioration of the bones that leaves them delicate and easily fractured. Osteoporosis results in a loss of both mineral salts and protein, which reduces the strength of bones, causing sufferers to be at a much higher risk of fracture even if there’s been no injury to cause it.

It’s estimated that one-third of the female and one-tenth of the male population in this country will develop osteoporosis during their lifetime. The age of onset is typically sometime in the patient’s 50s and frequently coincides with menopause. It’s important that young women pay attention to the health of their bones to ensure a healthy lifestyle in their senior years. Peak bone mass is generally acquired in the late teens and early 20s, and everyone in this age group should make sure they’re getting a healthy amount of calcium, magnesium and potassium to fuel growth.

The Effects of Eating Disorders

Those who suffer from eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, face an increased risk of developing osteoporosis in the future. Additionally, they typically see an earlier onset than those who don’t have any sort of eating disorder.

Osteoporosis is less common in bulimics, because they don’t tend to be as dangerously thin as anorexics. However, bulimics still may be at an increased risk for osteoporosis as well as irregular heart beat and menstrual dysfunction.

"I'll do anything to look like them"

Getting Help

If someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, it’s very important to get them help as quickly as possible. Your chiropractor can explain the unintended consequences of eating disorders and how they can affect both short and long term health.

In addition to education, your chiropractic team can help set up a nutrition and exercise plan to ensure safe weight gain without getting fat.

Your chiropractor can also perform therapeutic adjustments that can ease the pressure on bones that may already be at risk for developing osteoporosis.

Talk to your chiropractic team today about how to help your loved one find their way back from an eating disorder and what steps need to be taken to do so. Eating disorders are frightening, but they can be overcome and your chiropractor can help.


Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

Story credit, Photo credit: Anorexia by ! Santiago Alvarez !“I’ll do anything to look like them” by bejealousofme. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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