Anorexia and Kidney Disease

Anorexia nervosa is a serious and potentially fatal eating disorder usually characterized by a severely reduced appetite and often a total aversion to food. In the mainstream media, it is most commonly associated with teenage girls and the celebrity quest for a “size zero” figure. However, it is a serious and life-threatening disorder that goes far beyond the realm of body image and extreme dieting. Important clues as to the underlying causes of this disorder may be found in its association with chronic kidney disease.

According to Peter Stenvinkel of the Division of Renal Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital at Huddinge, Sweden, anorexia is observed frequently in kidney dialysis patients. The condition worsens as kidney disease progresses leading to severe muscle wasting and malnutrition, with all its associated health problems. Scientists had suggested a link to defective central nervous system control of appetite, so Stenvinkel and his colleagues have done an analysis of various biomolecules, including natural inflammatory compounds and sex hormones. Their results suggest that inflammation is closely linked to the development of anorexia in kidney patients and is more common in men than women.

Read the full story in today’s SpectroscopyNOW.

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