Identification of patients with eating disorders: clinical and biochemical signs of appetite loss in dialysis patients

J Ren Nutr. 2009 Jan;19(1):10-5. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2008.10.004.


Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) frequently experience loss of appetite (anorexia), which increases in severity during the disease progression. The optimal medical assessment of an anorectic patient depends on an appropriate knowledge of the associated signs and symptoms. Some of these signs are diagnostic of anorexia in CKD. The aim of the present review is to provide a general understanding of the consequences of anorexia in the CKD patient, while describing simple assessment methods of appetite loss easy to implement in the clinical setting. Early clinical and physical diagnostic signs associated with appetite loss, as well as the expected reflections in several blood biomarkers, are discussed. Finally, the potential role of sex hormones in modulating the severity of these symptoms is introduced as a platform toward the understanding of sex hormone action in regulating/treating uremic anorexia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia / complications
  • Anorexia / diagnosis*
  • Anorexia / epidemiology
  • Appetite
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Disease Progression
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / etiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / physiopathology
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Uremia / complications*
  • Uremia / physiopathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Nitric Oxide