Patients with an eating disorder of any type have a significantly increased risk for death, but anorexia nervosa appears to be particularly deadly and linked to the highest mortality and suicide rates, new research shows.

In a new meta-analysis, similarly elevated mortality rates were found for those with bulimia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). However, the rate was even higher for those with anorexia nervosa, with a weighted annual rate of 5 deaths per 1000 person-years. Of those who died, 1 in 5 did so by committing suicide.

In addition, an older age at first presentation for those with anorexia, especially between the ages of 20 and 29 years, was found to be a significant predictor of mortality.

“It was not surprising to find out that mortality in eating disorders, particularly [anorexia], was high. It was, however, surprising to find out the high levels of deaths by suicides among this population,” lead author Jon Arcelus, PhD, from the Eating Disorders Service in Leicester and Loughborough University, United Kingdom, told Medscape Medical News.

Does someone in your family have an eating disorder? Have you been concerned that they might be but are not really sure? Read on to get more helpful info on this very serious issue.

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