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  • How can I get life insurance when I have an eating disorder?
  • June 10, 2013
  • Health Consequences of Eating Disorders


    Slow heart rate and low blood pressure, resulting in heart failure
    Dry brittle bones
    Tooth erosion
    Muscle loss and weakness
    Fainting, serious fatigue
    Low white blood cell count
    Dry hair and skin
    The growth of fine, light hair (lanugo), which is an attempt by the body to keep warm

    Severe electrolyte imbalances leading to irregular heartbeat and the potential for heart failure
    Gastric rupture resulting from binging
    Rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting
    Esophageal cancer
    Tooth decay from excessive vomiting and the release of stomach acid
    Irregular bowel movements and constipation from laxative abuse
    Peptic ulcers

    The over consumption of food can result in the following:
    High blood pressure
    High cholesterol
    Heart disease
    Type II diabetes
    Gallbladder disease

    Source: National Eating Disorders Association


    “There are all kinds of medical problems that go along with being malnourished, ranging from heart disease and kidney failure to osteoporosis,” says Dr. Ann Hoven, medical director for The Hartford. “Anorexia in particular has a very high mortality rate that disproportionately strikes young people. It is most troubling because young people don’t expect to die. Anorexia is one of the greater concerns for insurers because successful treatment requires inpatient hospitalization for an extended period of time. It also carries a high recidivism rate because anorexics often fall back into old patterns.”

    Anorexia carries the highest death rate of any mental illness and is one of the most frequent psychiatric diagnoses in young women. NEDA reports that between five and 20 percent of people who develop anorexia eventually die from it.

    And it’s expensive to treat.

    The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders (ANAD)/ estimates that the monthly cost of inpatient treatment is $30,000 or more a month and the cost of outpatient treatment can exceed $100,000 depending on the duration of care.

    “In order to recover fully from anorexia, most patients need inpatient hospitalization for an extended period of time. There is a great deal of treatment involved to cure someone of anorexia,” says Hoven. “Most insurers require at least a year of stability before they will issue a policy to someone who has an eating disorder.”

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