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Electrolyte and other physiological abnormalities in patients with bulimia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2009

James E. Mitchell*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Richard L. Pyle
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Elke D. Eckert
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Dorothy Hatsukami
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Richard Lentz
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
*
1Address for correspondence: Dr James Mitchell, Box 393 Mayo, University Hospitals, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.

Synopsis

The frequencies of various forms of eating-related behaviour (such as vomiting and laxative abuse) are reported for a series of non-anorectic bulimia patients seen for evaluation in an eating disorders clinic. The results of serum electrolyte, glucose and other screening tests in these patients are presented. Electrolyte abnormalities were found in 82 of the 168 patients (48·8%) who were diagnosed as having either bulimia or atypical eating disorder. The most common abnormality was metabolic alkalosis (27·4%); hypochloremia (23·8%) and hypokalemia (13·7%) were also commonly seen. No significant blood sugar abnormalities were encountered. An elevated serum amylase level was found to be associated with frequent binge-eating and vomiting behaviour. The pathophysiology of electrolyte abnormalities in this patient group is briefly reviewed.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1983

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