Electrolyte levels could help with early detection of eating disorders

November 16, 2022

Dr. Gregory Hundemer“Eating disorders increase the risk of health complications and death so timely screening results and earlier diagnosis and treatment can improve long-term prognosis.” -Dr. Gregory HundemerA discovery led by Dr. Gregory Hundemer could help people with eating disorders get treatment sooner. Dr. Hundemer and his colleagues found that people with electrolyte abnormalities were twice as likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder at a later date. Those with severe irregularities were five times more likely to be diagnosed. 

The case-control study, published in JAMA Network Open, analyzed Ontario health data between 2008 and 2020, with patients 13 years and older. Their discovery could lead to earlier treatment for approximately 1 million Canadians who suffer from diseases like anorexia and bulimia, which compromise quality of life and can lead to death. Electrolyte abnormalities commonly occur well before an eating disorder diagnosis is made, leading the researchers to zero in on these levels by screening targeted individuals. 

See press release and coverage in CNN

Authors: Gregory L. Hundemer, Anna Clarke, Ayub Akbari, Ann Bugeja, David Massicotte-Azarniouch, Greg Knoll, Daniel T. Myran, Peter Tanuseputro, Manish M. Sood. 

Core Resources: ICES

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