Exams and Tests
Self-check: Do I have an eating disorder? By answering these five simple questions, you can see whether you may have an eating disorder:
|Do I have an eating disorder? |
- Do you make yourself Sick (induce vomiting) because you feel uncomfortably full?
- Do you worry that you have lost Control over how much you eat?
- Have you recently lost more than One stone  in a 3-month period?
- Do you think you are too Fat, even though others say you are too thin?
- Would you say that Food dominates your life?
Give yourself 1 point for every "yes" answer. A score equal to or greater than 2 indicates you may have anorexia or bulimia.
SCOFF questionnaire, copyright ©1999, St George's Hospital Medical School, University of London. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Medical check. There is no single test that can diagnose anorexia. But this illness has a visible effect on your health and eating habits.
If your health professional thinks that you may have an eating disorder, he or she will check you for signs of malnutrition or starvation. Your health professional may also ask questions about your mental well-being. It is common for a treatable mental health problem (such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder) to play a part in an eating disorder.
Common exams and tests for a possible eating disorder include:
- A medical history of your physical and emotional health, present and past.
- A physical exam, including checking your heart, lungs, blood pressure, weight, mouth, skin and hair for problems from malnutrition.
- Screening questions about your eating habits and how you feel about your health.
- A mental health assessment, to check for depression or anxiety.
- Blood tests, to check for signs of malnutrition.
- X-rays, which can show whether your bones have been weakened (osteopenia) by malnutrition.
If your health professional thinks that you may have organ damage, doing heart or kidney tests can be helpful.
Early detection and treatment of anorexia are important to recovery. Early treatment makes it less likely that you will have long-term health problems and the risk of an early death.7 The longer anorexia continues, the harder it becomes to free yourself from the thought patterns that lead to starvation.
For parents of teens. Because most cases of anorexia begin in the teen years, family members are often the first to see signs of anorexia. Even if your teen resists seeking treatment, it is important for you to talk to a health professional if you see early signs of anorexia.