How a Negative Body Image can Affect your Health

How a Negative Body Image can Affect your Health

A good body image is a vital part of healthy self esteem and well developed self confidence. If you have a poor body image, you could suffer from low self esteem, depression, anxiety, obesity and eating disorders. Over time, a poor body image can have a devastating effect on your mental and physical health.

The Consequences of a Poor Body Image

Your body image is how you feel about your body. If you feel good about your body and satisfied with the way it looks, feels and functions, then you have a good body image. However, if you're unhappy with your body and don't like the way it looks, feels and functions, you have a poor body image. Poor body image can lead to low self esteem and low confidence, which can cause problems in your personal and professional life; a poor body image can also lead to eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia, and it can cause obesity.

The Health Consequences of Low Self Esteem

Because your body image is linked very closely with your self esteem, a poor body image can lead to very low self esteem and low confidence. Low self esteem can lead to increased levels of stress, and it can cause unhealthy behaviors like smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and overeating. People with low self esteem often feel little incentive to care for themselves properly, and won't eat right or exercise regularly. They may exhibit poor grooming and social skills and have problems with relationships and at work.

Low self esteem has been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Because those with low self esteem are more vulnerable to stress, they may suffer from a lowered immune response and get sick more frequently.

The Health Consequences of Obesity

A poor body image can lead to bad eating habits and may cause you to become overweight or obese. Obesity carries a number of health risks. Those who are obese are more likely to develop heart disease, arthritis and type 2 diabetes. Overweight and obese people suffer from social discrimination and are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

The Health Consequences of Eating Disorders

For many, dissatisfaction with size, weight or body type leads to eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. Many who develop eating disorders begin out of a desire to improve a body they aren't happy with. The health consequences of eating disorders can be severe.

Those with anorexia may become dangerously underweight. They may struggle with anxiety and depression. They run the risk of low blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fatigue and fainting, and dehydration so severe it could lead to kidney failure. Anorexia may become so severe that the patient literally starves him or herself to death.

Bulimia can lead to electrolyte imbalances so severe that they could cause heart failure and death. Bulimics run the risk of gastric rupture or esophageal inflammation. They may also suffer from severe tooth decay.

Binge eating disorder can cause obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, type 2 diabetes and gallbladder disease.