Eating Disorders Destroy Multiple Organs

The best way to increase the number of transplantable organs is two-fold; 1) increase the number of organ donors and 2) diminish the need for organs.  Only by combining the two will we be able to end the disgraceful upward spiral of people who die while waiting for transplants.  


Eating disorders number among the top organ destroyers of all diseases because Anorexia and Bulimia can destroy virtually all of the organs — making transplants next to impossible.  Which organ do you transplant and does it make sense to do so if the patient still suffers from the disease?


Too many people fail to recognize just how dangerous eating disorders can be, and if we are to diminish the need for organs we must address these terrible diseases as early in the process as possible.  They are treatable but become less so as the disorders age.


The question is often asked, “Which organs do anorexia and bulimia destroy?”  The answer according to wiki ( is, “Nearly all of them, because of the lack of nourishment.”  Wiki adds that the damage goes well beyond what one might expect, “The effects of anorexia and bulimia that can persist throughout the victim’s lifetime are a higher risk of developing osteoporosis later due to the deprivation of calcium, infertility or difficulty conceiving, anemia, stunted growth (in adolescent victims), psycho-neurological problems, ex. depression and anxiety, and neurological problems, ex. seizures, peripheral neuropathy which is a tingling and numbness in the limbs. Diabetics who had anorexia risk a likely chance of developing retinopathy, an eye condition that often causes blindness. Some such as infertility and neurological complications are often permanent.”

Still another source (, “The heart gets damaged from the constant electrolyte imbalances caused by continuous purging and becomes weaker the longer the disorder continues. Some people even can die from this complication when a weak heart goes into a “heart block”. This is when the heart suddenly stops beating due to extremely low potassium or other mineral deficiency induced by vomiting and laxatives abuse.

Kidney damage is very common.  The kidneys are organs that normally correct mineral abnormalities in the body. But when a person’s mineral balance is constantly disturbed, they get damaged.

The brain suffers also from the moment bulimia starts.

The digestive system also gets affected badly. The stomach experience delays in empting its food content and people suffer from pains in the abdominal area, bloating, acid reflux, stomach ulcers and esophageal problems.

The bones become weak due to the development of low bones density and the bones can break from even minimal strain or pressure.

Skinlooses its youthful look even at a relatively young age. Hair loss due to mineral and protein depletion is inevitable in the long term.

The endocrine glands eventually stop working properly and produce fewer hormones than the body needs: this makes a person age quickly and loose muscle tone.”

The list of problems caused by eating disorders is endless but the solutions are not simple.  Eating disorders like chemical dependency and depression are not easy to treat and some people don’t respond at all.  If we are to address diminishing the demand for organ transplants, though, we must take these diseases much more seriously.  For more information on eating disorders click on the above links or the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at  And – please spread the word about the need for more organ donors.  There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance.  If you convince one person to be a donor you may have saved or affected 50 lives.

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 2,500 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.


About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on March 8, 2009, in Transplant prevention. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very
    well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it
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  2. I think you are dead on that it is a LOT easier said than done. Having struggles with both chronic physical illness (my organs would be no good to anyone anyway- much more likely to need theirs!)

    I have been surrounded by eating disorders and people with them and sadly the mortality rate is about 20% (worse than a lot of common cancers) and I find different mental struggles i’ve had a lot harder to cope with. I’d choose my lungs playing up any day over this. There is nothing worse than fighting a battle against yourself.

    I think that whilst this plays a part – the whole “healthier lives”- an even bigger part that is totally different to eating disorders ruining organs is that there are plenty of those “healthy” people out there who simply haven’t logged on online in order to opt for organ donation!- I think this is where the push needs to be.


  3. Reblogged this on Bob's NewHeart and commented:

    The only way to end the organ shortage right now is to live healther lives. Sometimes, though, that is easier said than done especially when psychological disorders are present. Eating disorders can negatively affect every organ in the body and while difficult to manage the disease is treatable. I am re-posting this blog because of interest expressed in the subject by our readers and by the members of Organ Transplant Initiative.


  4. My friend died of anorexia 3 months ago. She was healthy as a horse, had an amazing life, up until about a year and a half ago when she started feeling bad about her body and weight….she died at 88 pounds and I miss her every single day. I pray that this never happens to you or your loved ones. Celebrate life as much as possible!


  1. Pingback: Eating Disorders: Bulimia Tragedy at 20 : Stop Eating Disorders

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