Electrolyte and other physiological abnormalities in patients with bulimia

James E. Mitchell, Richard L. Pyle, Elke D Eckert, Dorothy K Hatsukami, Richard Lentz

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105 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1983


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