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On the average it is estimated that 1% of females in their teens and early 20s develops this eating disorder. Studies have shown that 10% to 15% will die of complications arising from anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder, is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight, a lack of menstruation among girls and women, and extremely disturbed eating behavior.
A person with anorexia nervosa may have started out just eating smaller amounts of food than usual, but at some point, the urge to eat less spirals out of control.
Some people with anorexia lose weight by dieting and exercising excessively; others lose weight by self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas.