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Anorexia: Brain Damage and Chestpain questions
lankypanda posted:

I'm 23 and I think I may suffer from anorexia. I'm recently realizing, that this may have been going on for years. Food restrictions, body image issues, low weight. My BMI is average, 22. I'm male 5'11, 150.

The past year has been a lot better, with fewer restrictions (eating pretty much whatever), no weigh-ins, less 'pinching', but the discomfort is still there residually, and I've been so lax about my food intake that I only have vague ideas about what I've been eating! With that said, I've experienced chest pains over this year, and I've recently begun to question of the disorder has affected my brain.

I think 3 years ago, was my worst, where I was restricting myself to mostly coffee, fruits, and cereal, and other low calorie stuff. I'd still consume about 1200 calories a day minimum, but it wasn't good, I was walking a lot, and not sleeping a lot.. I think I was at 135lbs at some point possibly. This was the worst of it though, and lasted for about a year.

I've felt a big decline socially over the past few years, and a lot of it has to do with my sluggishness in conversations, I don't feel like I make quick witty jokes anymore, it's more robotic, and I don't feel the spark of creativity, it's more of an effort now, and sometimes I feel like I may have lost the ability to think fast..

I debate with myself. Is this brought on by my depression (which is frequent in eating disorder cases, including myself), or could I have permanently lost something because of brain damage due to deficiencies? I've heard that the first thing to go in cases of brain damage is humor.

I restricted my food to varying degrees over the course of 3-4yrs. I described the worst of it above, the other few years were much less severe, as in I'd be eating normal foods but they'd all be healthy. No grease, no cheese on sandwiches and then getting progressively more restrictive. I'd say those other few years were more like 15-1600 calories, with the excessive walking, and lack of sleep. I wanted to add that for about a year I've been much much better, but I still notice these cognitive differences in myself.

So I wanted to know. How long does anorexia have to be present before brain damage occurs? Is my case too mild for me to be concerned? Were the occasions where i felt sluggish in conversation related to short -term effects like overall energy level?

My second question is concerning the chest pains. I'm a smoker, and I frequently have a cough, and small tension in my breathing. Sometimes there are sudden dull aching pains above my upper abdomen (these are pretty rare), they feel like a more concentrated cramp. It's been hard to locate exactly where they take place because they feel more internal, but I'd guess about 4 inches down and diagonal towards the center of my body from either nipple.

Are these pains associated with my heart and the eating disorder, or could they be cramps from sore muscles from smoking and coughing?

Thank you for any feedback, glad to be on the support group board now.
lostkate responded:
Hi welcome
Sorry no one has responded by now. Havent been on this board for while. What your experiences with your chest pain, I would check first with your doctor. The brain damage Im not sure of, I know for me my head is not clear, Im sluggish, no energy when I stop eatting and become depressed. Im anorexia for many years, Im also a smoker, we have a lot of similarities. If want to talk more this is a good place to come, its just been slow with replying. Keep writing if it helps.

PetuniaPea replied to lostkate's response:
Yes, check with your doctor to see if your chest pain is your heart, your lungs, or just muscular pain. Not sure about brain damage either...the brain is probably slow to damage permanently...with the good news being that any minor damage is reversible with proper nutrition...easier said than done...but please, seek out help! Even if you feel your case is mild compared to others, it's better to get help now before it takes a turn for the worse.

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