According to the DSM-5, diagnostic criteria for anorexia includes:
Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory and physical health
Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even when significantly underweight
Disturbance about body weight or shape, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of current low body weight
Diagnostic Exams and Tests for Anorexia Nervosa
If your doctor suspects that you have anorexia, they will typically run several exams and tests to help narrow down a diagnosis, eliminate other medicals causes for weight loss or other symptoms, and check for any related complications.
Physical Exam. This may include measuring your height and weight, checking your vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, checking your skin and nails, listening to your heart and lungs, and examining your abdomen.
Lab Tests. These may include a complete blood count and more specialized tests to check electrolytes and protein, as well as liver, kidney and thyroid functions. A urinalysis may also be performed.
Psychological Evaluation. A therapist or mental health provider will likely ask about your thoughts, feelings and eating habits. You may also be asked to complete a psychological self-assessment questionnaire.
Other Studies. X-rays may be taken to measure your bone density, check for stress fractures or broken bones, or evaluate you for pneumonia or heart problems. Electrocardiograms may be used to identify heart irregularities. Tests may also be used to determine how much energy your body uses, which can help in planning nutritional requirements. Based on the results of the exams and tests, an appropriate treatment program will be recommended.
Visit our main anorexia information page to learn more about anorexia or read our blog posts about anorexia to learn more about anorexia symptoms, treatment and more.
If You Are Ready to Regain Your Life, Walden Can Help.
If you are concerned that you – or a loved one – may have an eating disorder, we are here to help. Please call 781-647-6727 to speak with a Walden eating disorders intake specialist, or complete the form on this page, to start the road to recovery.