Anorexia nervosa often results in a starvation induced hypometabolic state where the body shifts to conserve resources. The thyroid slows the body’s metabolism and the output of hormones. Body temperature decreases so the individual is extremely sensitive to cold temperatures.
This hypometabolic state is defined by slowed metabolic activity, and is the body’s attempt to survive a deficit in calories. In response to starvation, body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure decrease.
As described by researcher Lloyd A. Weisgerber, in a hypometabolic state, the person’s heart rate and blood pressure decrease. As a consequence, they become light headed and their reflexes slow down. If starvation continues, muscle mass will continue to decrease and eventually the heart muscle becomes rigid, less contractile and less efficient. The client may then experience cardiac problems and may die.
It is very important to seek medical treatment for eating disorders because the potential complications are so serious.