Read about how anorexia and other eating disorders can cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body that can increase a person’s risk of experiencing a stroke.

Can anorexia cause a stroke? It can, but indirectly. According to the National Stroke Association, a stroke occurs when blood flow to a region of the brain is cut off. The loss of blood flow to the brain can deprive the organ of oxygen and can result in permanent damage. About two-thirds of individuals who experience a stroke develop a disability.

In some cases, strokes can lead to anorexia. A 2015 research article published in the European Journal of Health Sciences examined a 65-year-old man who developed symptoms of anorexia after having experienced a stroke. The author of the piece suggested that a stroke can cause intracranial pressure, which can result in a decrease in food intake that is associated with anorexia. The size of the hemorrhage can influence the development of eating problems.

Eating disorders have long been associated with cardiovascular problems. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders like anorexia can lead to an electrolyte imbalance in the body, which can affect the way the body functions.

An electrolyte imbalance can indicate the presence of too high or too low levels of potassium, calcium, sodium or other minerals. So, people with irregular electrolyte levels, like those with anorexia or other eating disorders, are at an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

While it is possible for people with anorexia to experience a stroke, some other eating disorders are more closely associated with strokes. For example, Healthline states that binge eating disorder can bring about obesity that can lead to heart disease, cancer and stroke.

A medical professional can talk to people with anorexia about the risks that this eating disorder can have on their health. A doctor can also speak with these individuals about whether they are at risk of experiencing a stroke.


National Stroke Association. “What is stroke?” (n.d.) Accessed February 20, 2019.

Akpınar ÇK, Erdoğan S. “Hemorrhagic Stroke Presenting with Anorexia; a Rare Entity.” European Journal of Health Sciences, September 7, 2015. Accessed February 20, 2019.

National Institute of Mental Health. “Eating Disorders.” February 2016. Accessed February 20, 2019.

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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.