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America’s Got Talent alum Jackie Evancho, who placed second in the program in 2010 when she was just 10 years old, draws attention to young patients who have struggled with anorexia nervosa may also have a condition commonly reserved for postmenopausal women, osteoporosis.
“These were abnormal relapses, relapses that you see in 80-year-olds.” singer recently spoke in an interview with People about the broken bones she went through.
“That’s how I found out that my eating problems led to osteoporosis. So now I’m 22 and have osteoporosis.”
According to her, her eating disorder began when she was a teenager, at the age of 15.
“I noticed that I looked a little bigger, so I asked my mom: “Do I look fat?” And she’s like, “No, no, it’s just baby fat,” Evancho told People magazine.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Evancho for comment.
“So I decided I was going to go on a moderate diet and start exercising regularly,” she said.
Dr. Madhusmita Mishra, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, told Fox News Digital: “Anorexia nervosa is a condition weight loss or low body weight with an altered body image, which is due to changes in body composition and many hormones, which then adversely affect the bones.
An eating disorder requires the patient to have three diagnostic criteria.
An eating disorder requires a patient to have three diagnostic criteria, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which physicians use for diagnosis. mental health disorders.
The guidelines note that the patient restricts calories below the necessary dietary requirements, resulting in a significantly low body weight in the context of the patient’s age, sex, and physical health.
The patient also describes a “strong fear” of gaining weight or “getting fat” despite their significant low weight, and also has a distorted body image or lack of understanding of how low body weight is detrimental to their body.
“People with anorexia typically limit the amount of calories and types of food they eat,” according to the National Eating Disorders Association.
“Some people with this disorder also compulsively exercise, purge with vomiting and laxatives, and/or overeat.”
“These patients experience profound bone loss that is very difficult to treat unless the weight is regained.”
But many patients with anorexia nervosa do not realize the serious impact of this condition on bone health. Sandeep Khosla is an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota.
“In particular, these patients have profound bone loss that is very difficult to treat unless the lost weight is regained,” he told Fox News Digital.
These patients are at “very high risk” for low bone density, reduced bone strength and fractures, the doctor said. Mishra too. She is also Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Recent history of fractures
One sign that a person with anorexia nervosa has significant bone loss is a history of recent fractures.
Estrogen is essential for bone development, especially as children grow; therefore, when levels drop, patients begin to lose bone mass.
Evancho first learned she had osteoporosis after she was admitted to the hospital after a car accident in January 2021, when she was diagnosed with spinal fractures resembling those of an 80-year-old, according to what she shared.
According to a review published by the Endocrine Society in 2018, approximately 90% of women with anorexia nervosa have low bone mineral density and a seven times higher risk of fracture compared to women of the same age with normal body weight.
According to the Endocrine Society, this condition occurs in 2.2% of women during their lifetime, with a peak age of onset between 13 and 18 years.
When women starve their bodies over time, they sex hormones dropwhich often leads to irregular or no periods at all, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.
Patients with an eating disorder also produce excess cortisol, which can also cause bone loss.
However, estrogen is essential for bone development, especially as children grow; so when levels drop, patients begin to experience bone loss, the association added.
Patients with an eating disorder also produce excess cortisol, which can also cause bone loss. They may also develop calcium deficiency and have low levels of growth hormone, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“The best strategy for improving bone health involves restoring weight and resuming menstruation in women who have stopped menstruating, as the associated low estrogen levels greatly contribute to bone density loss,” Mishra added.
These women should also request a skeletal assessment, including bone mineral density testing, Khosla added.
“I should have eaten [for my bones] to heal and it really messed with my eating problems because I was gaining weight to heal,” Evancho told People.
“I’m still struggling, but I’m struggling, which is good, because a year ago I completely gave up.”
She began outpatient treatment when she was 17 years old, but after her eating disorder worsened during COVID-19 pandemicshe eventually sought hospital treatment last October, according to People.
“I’m still struggling but I’m struggling and that’s good because a year ago I gave up completely and it’s so dark and painful,” Evancho said in the same interview.
“Only 50% to 60% of women with this disease recover. [more than] 20 years after their initial diagnosis and therefore a negative energy balance state is chronic for many patients with anorexia nervosa,” according to the Endocrine Society.
“I’m not healthy yet, but I was able to implement healthy survival skills and improve my eating habits,” Evancho said.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association can help.