Bulimia Nervosa - Exams and Tests
There is no single
test that can diagnose bulimia or any other eating disorder. But these
illnesses may have a visible effect on your health and eating habits.
If your doctor thinks that you may have an eating disorder, he or she
will check you for signs of problems caused by your diet and purging, such as malnutrition
or electrolyte imbalances. He or she also may ask questions about your mental well-being.
It is common for another mental health problem (such as
obsessive-compulsive disorder) to play a part in an
Common exams and tests for a possible eating
- Questions about your
medical history, including your physical and emotional
health, both present and past.
physical exam to check your heart, lungs, blood
pressure, weight, mouth, skin, and hair for diet problems.
- Screening questions about your eating habits and how
you feel about your health.
mental health assessment to check for depression or
Blood tests to check for signs of malnutrition, such
potassium levels or other chemical
can show whether your bones have been weakened (osteopenia) by
A person can have bulimia and be underweight, average
weight, or overweight. Most people with bulimia are in their normal weight
range. Many binge in secret and deny that they may have a problem. These
factors can make bulimia hard to diagnose.
People with bulimia
often seek medical care for related health concerns, such as
fatigue or stomach problems caused by repeated
Early, accurate diagnosis and treatment of
bulimia can decrease the chances of long-term health problems and even death in
severe cases. Unfortunately, there is no routine screening for eating
disorders. It is common for a person with bulimia to try to hide symptoms,
which can make it hard to detect. Most often a loved one thinks that there
is a problem and seeks help for bulimia. It is common for a person to have
bulimia for a long time and to develop serious health problems before anyone
realizes that the person has the disorder.