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, such as malnutrition or starvation. He or she also may ask questions about your mental well-being. It is common for a treatable mental health problem (such as depression, anxiety, or Reference obsessive-compulsive disorder Opens New Window) to play a part in an eating disorder.
Common exams and tests for a possible eating disorder include:
- Questions about your Reference medical history, including your physical and emotional health, both present and past.
- A Reference physical exam to check your heart, lungs, blood pressure, weight, mouth, skin, and hair for diet problems.
- Reference Screening questions about your eating habits and how you feel about your health.
- A Reference mental health assessment to check for depression or anxiety.
- Reference Blood tests to check for signs of malnutrition, such as low Reference potassium Opens New Window levels or other chemical imbalances.
- Reference X-rays Opens New Window, which can show whether your bones have been weakened (Reference osteopenia Opens New Window) by malnutrition.
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 vomiting.
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.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 25, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry