[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Physical Exam for Eating Disorders

 

During a physical exam for eating disorders , the doctor will:

  • Check your weight and compare it with the expected weight for someone of the same height and age. In general, a body mass index (BMI) that is equal to or less than 17.5 in adults is considered underweight. 1
  • Check your blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. Many people who have eating disorders have a sudden drop in blood pressure when they sit up from a lying position or stand up from a sitting position.
  • Listen to your heart and lungs.
  • Examine your belly for anything unusual.
  • Check your hands and feet for swelling.

Other physical signs include: 2

  • Dry skin.
  • Irregular heartbeats ( arrhythmia ).
  • Thinning or dull hair on the head and unexpected fine hair growth on the body.
  • Low blood pressure (especially when you stand up).

Because vomiting is often part of an eating disorder, the doctor may also check for: 3

  • Inflamed or diseased teeth and gums or erosion of tooth enamel .
  • Swollen glands in the neck.
  • Broken blood vessels in the eyes.
  • Teeth marks on the back of the hands or calluses on the knuckles from self-induced vomiting.
  • Loose skin.
  • Sores in the mouth.

 

Citations

  1. Steering Committee on Practice Guidelines, American Psychiatric Association (2006). Treating Eating Disorders: A Quick Reference Guide. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Clinical report: Identification and management of eating disorders in children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 126(6): 1240–1253.
  3. Fairburn CG, Harrison PJ (2003). Eating disorders. Lancet, 361(9355): 407–416.

 

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry
Last Revised August 25, 2011

Last Revised: August 25, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.


The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.

More to explore

[an error occurred while processing this directive]