8 Things Binge Eating Disorder Does to Your Body

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Diana Rodriguez on September 3, 2020
  • man-on-couch-eating-from-plate-and-holding-stomach
    The Toll of Binge Eating Disorder
    People with a binge eating disorder take in large amounts of calories. That can wreak havoc on your whole system. This eating disorder changes the way the body works. It can also cause emotional issues from being embarrassed about eating too much. Binge eating often causes obesity. That increases one’s risk for a number of health conditions. Here are some of the ways binge eating disorder affects the body.
  • woman-on-weighing-machine
    Weight Gain
    People with binge eating disorder eat a lot of food—much more than is healthy to eat in one sitting. Often, they're unhealthy foods, too. Over time, eating so much can cause you to gain a large amount of weight. As many as 2 of every 3 people with binge eating disorder are obese. Being way overweight, as well as missing out on nutrients from healthy foods, can cause many other health problems.
  • depressed-woman-with-head-in-hands
    Stress, Shame and Other Emotional Issues
    Binge eating disorder can affect your emotional health. Most people feel very guilty after a binge eating episode. They also feel stressed, unhappy and ashamed that they can't control their eating. People with binge eating disorder may avoid doing things with other people and spend a lot of time alone. This can lead to depression. Some people with binge eating disorder think about committing suicide.
  • Diabetes
    Type 2 Diabetes
    People who are overweight are more likely than others to develop type 2 diabetes. That occurs when your body can't make or use insulin effectively enough to keep the sugar in your blood at a healthy level. Binge eating disorder can cause type 2 diabetes to develop. Then you may need to take insulin. Managing diabetes also means making changes to eating and exercise habits. In turn, type 2 diabetes can have serious complications, including heart disease.
  • Woman holding chest to indicate heart attack
    Cardiovascular Disease
    People with binge eating disorder have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This includes heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The extra weight gain from bingeing makes cardiovascular disease more likely. Eating foods high in fat, sugar and salt during binging episodes also contributes to high cholesterol and blood pressure levels. That can damage blood vessels and clog arteries, which can block blood flow to the heart or brain.
  • Sleep Apnea
    Sleep Problems
    Research shows people with binge eating disorder are more likely than others to have trouble sleeping. They also have a greater chance of having sleep apnea. This sleep condition causes your breathing to pause while you sleep. The pauses are brief, but they occur over and over. Sleep apnea is more common in obese people, in part because fat builds up around the airways. This can make it hard to breathe during sleep. Having sleep apnea increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Doctor looking at patient suffering from pain
    Joint Problems
    The excess weight caused by binge eating disorder can affect your joints, too. It can lead to osteoarthritis. That's when the cartilage inside your joints wears away. This can happen to any joint—the knees, hips, fingers and so on. The joints become stiff and painful. This can make it hard to walk around, lift something or do other movement without pain.
  • Acoustic stethoscope and blood pressure gauge on an electrocardiogram printout
    Organ Diseases
    The heart isn't the only organ affected by binge eating disorder. For instance, the biggest risk factors for kidney disease are diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. These are common problems for people with binge eating disorder. Also, your gallbladder can be affected. That comes from being overweight or from losing and then quickly gaining weight. Fatty liver disease can result from binge eating disorder, too. Its cause is fat buildup in the liver.
  • Woman Holding Pregnancy Test While Man Watches
    Fertility and Pregnancy Problems
    Binge eating disorder can affect fertility, making it harder to get pregnant. Periods may be irregular instead of on a regular cycle. Pregnant women with binge eating disorder are more likely than others to need a cesarean delivery. There’s also a high risk of developing high blood sugar and high blood pressure while pregnant, which is dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
  • doctor-with-hand-on-patients-shoulder
    Diagnosis and Treatment
    The harmful effects of binge eating disorder and other eating disorders develop over time. In some cases, the damage can be reversed or treated, but other times, the damage can be permanent. That’s why it’s so important to identify and treat eating disorders as soon as possible. If you or someone you care about has a problem with binge eating, seek professional medical help from an expert on binge eating disorder.
8 Things Binge Eating Disorder Does to Your Body

About The Author

  1. Binge Eating Disorder. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/binge-eating
  2. Binge-Eating Disorder. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/binge-eating-disorder/symptoms-causes/dxc-20182932
  3. Binge Eating Disorder. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/binge_eating/Pages/binge-ea...
  4. Health Consequences of Eating Disorders. National Eating Disorders Association. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/health-consequences-eating-disorders
  5. Sleep Apnea. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/definition/con-20020286 
  6. Cardiovascular Disease. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/Resources/WhatisCardiovascularDisease/What-is-Cardiovascular...
  7. Type 2 Diabetes. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/type-2-diabetes 
  8. Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/ 
  9. At Risk for Kidney Disease? National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/nkdep/learn/causes-kidney-... 
  10. Gallbladder Disease. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/gallbladder-disease
  11. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nonalcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/basics/definition/con...
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 3
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.