What is the role of blood chemistries in the workup of anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Results can include the following:

  • Hyponatremia: Reflects excess water intake or the inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH)

  • Hypokalemia: Results from diuretic or laxative use

  • Hypoglycemia: Results from the lack of glucose precursors in the diet or low glycogen stores; low blood glucose may also be due to impaired insulin clearance

  • Elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN): Renal function is generally normal except in patients with dehydration, in whom the BUN level may be elevated (also perform a urinalysis)

  • Hypokalemic hypochloremic metabolic alkalosis: Observed with vomiting

  • Acidosis: Observed in cases of laxative abuse

Serum vitamin D and calcium levels may be helpful, especially if osteoporosis is suspected, and should always be obtained if a trial of bisphosphonates is attempted for confirmation of osteoporosis. [44, 97]

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