Should You Use Blood Tests to Detect Anorexia?

Diagnosing anorexia involves the consideration of many different factors.

All areas of health – physical, psychological, emotional – must be evaluated in order to arrive at a proper diagnosis.

Blood tests can be helpful when assessing the physical state of the patient, especially for the purposes of getting the individual immediate medical attention if there are serious health problems present.

Common lab tests

The types of lab tests may vary depending on the decisions of your doctor, but could include: a complete blood count (CBC), which measures white and red blood cell count; a comprehensive metabolic panel, which assesses the state of the kidneys, liver and blood sugar; a liver panel, which tests for liver enzyme levels; or a lipid profile, which counts cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

If routine tests do not give your physician enough information, more tests may be ordered.

Psychological evaluation

The health of your blood may tell part of the story when it comes to anorexia, but your doctor will probably also recommend that you undergo a psychological evaluation as well.

Anorexia is considered a mental health disorder, which means treatment will include not just nutritional or medical therapies, but also psychological therapies.

Other considerations

It should be noted that anorexia is not something that can be simply “detected” with blood tests. A physician must look at the total picture of your health to make a diagnosis – and he or she must take into account medical diagnostic criteria.

In some cases, symptoms of anorexia may indicate some other type of mental health or physical problem – in which case your doctor may want to perform a full physical exam, test your heart for irregularities or send you to get X-rays to check your bone density.

If anorexia is indicated, blood work will help reveal what nutritional deficiencies or medical issues may need to be addressed in order to put you on the path to recovery.

Source: Mayo Clinic, Maudsley Parents

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2018
Company Information

© 2018 All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.