The outcome for patients with anorexia nervosa is variable; a worse outcome is associated with older age of onset, severity and duration of the illness, male sex, and severe associated psychiatric disturbances. In general, 40-60% of patients achieve full nutritional and psychological recovery after 612 months. Approximately 20-40% attain a borderline normal weight and existence for the rest of their lives, but with the occurrence of significant stress they may revert to their previous anorexic behavior. There is a mortality rate of 5-30% in the most severe cases due to suicide, electrolyte imbalance, and starvation-induced myocardial damage causing intractable arrhythmias; it is rarely due to infection. Long-term follow-up of these patients has shown an increased later mortality due to alcoholism.
See also: Adolescents: Nutritional Requirements. Eating Disorders: Bulimia Nervosa. Malnutrition: Primary, Causes Epidemiology and Prevention; Secondary, Diagnosis and Management. Obesity: Definition, Etiology and Assessment. Starvation and Fasting.
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