London: Don`t take eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia lightly, they could bring on premature death, says a new research.
Anorexia is characterized by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight, made worse by a distorted self-image.
Bulimia nervosa is restricting food intake for some time, alternating with bingeing that results in feelings of guilt and low self-esteem.
Anorexia patients have nearly six times greater risk of dying early, while bulimia doubles premature death risk, reports the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
John Arcelus from Leicester General Hospital, who led the study said that eating disorders have "serious physical consequences".
Arcelus and his team reviewed 36 studies between January 1966 and September 2010, involving 17,000 individuals with eating disorders, of whom 755 died, according to a Liecester statement.
Large numbers of anorexia afflicted people also develop obsessive compulsive disorder, depression and anxiety. They tend to be extremely malnourished.
Twenty-year-old patients who suffer from anorexia have 18 times more death risk compared to others in the same age group. Such patients could also become bulimic, resulting in an even greater risk of death.