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Int J Eat Disord. 2000 Jul;28(1):107-12.

Bone density of women who have recovered from anorexia nervosa.

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1
Department of General Psychiatry, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine bone density in 19 women who had previously experienced classical anorexia nervosa from which they had been fully recovered for a mean of 21 years (current characteristics: median age 40.2 years; Eating Attitudes Test [EAT] score 2; body mass index [BMI] 21.1; average 1.8 offspring).

METHOD:

Probands were compared, blindly, in respect of bone density, with 13 control subjects matched for age and sex and with no history of eating disorders. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to evaluate the bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine and the head of the femur.

RESULTS:

Femur BMD was still significantly less among ex-anorectic sufferers. Two subjects had experienced pathological fractures while anorectic, both having been strenuous exercisers. None appeared to have suffered post illness fractures. BMD at follow-up did not relate to the severity or chronicity of previous anorexia nervosa.

DISCUSSION:

Full clinical recovery from anorexia nervosa does not quite confer full establishment of normal bone density. However, pathological fractures are not a feature thereafter, within middle life.

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