In a worst-case scenario, untreated anorexia can lead to death, which is why getting treatment quickly if you suspect anorexia is all-important. Anorexia has the highest death rate of any mental illness. Between 5% and 20% of people with anorexia eventually die from it. Even those who recover from the disease, the body may still be damaged for life. The longer you have the disease the more damage it can do to your body. If anorexia develops during adolescence, then the bones may be negatively affected. That stage in life is crucial for the development of bone mass, and self-starvation can severely limit the amount of bone density that can accrue. This will lead to a weakened skeletal system later in life. However, the most life threatening damage is done to the heart muscles. As anorexia progresses, the body eats away at its muscle tissue. This means that the heart gets smaller and weaker. The heart struggles to circulate blood throughout the body and the pulse gets fainter. This is the leading cause for hospitalization of anorexia patients. People with anorexia often also have a low white-blood cell count and can also simultaneously have anemia. Both of these conditions lower the strength of the body's immune system. Most importantly, before someone begins to look very thin, these medical conditions may have already begun.