Which physical findings suggest induced starvation in anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Characteristic signs of inadequate energy (caloric) intake observed in patients with anorexia nervosa that are due to starvation-induced changes are summarized below. Positive signs include the following:

  • Hypothermia

  • Acrocyanosis

  • Resting bradycardia (resting heart rate often 40-49 beats per minute)

  • Hypotension

  • Orthostatic lowered blood pressure or pulse

  • Loss of muscle mass

  • Low blood glucose (impaired insulin clearance)

  • Low parathyroid hormone levels

  • Elevated liver function

  • Low white blood cell (WBC) count

Negative signs include the following:

  • Normal fundi or visual fields

  • No organomegaly

  • No lymphadenopathy

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