Anorexia nervosa and the kidney

Am J Kidney Dis. 2012 Aug;60(2):299-307. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2012.03.019. Epub 2012 May 19.


Anorexia nervosa is a common psychiatric disorder that disproportionately affects adolescents and young adults and is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Anorexia nervosa can affect the kidney in numerous ways, including increased rates of acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease, electrolyte abnormalities, and nephrolithiasis. Additionally, the diagnosis and treatment of anorexia nervosa-associated kidney diseases are challenging, reflecting complications such as refeeding syndrome, as well as the limitations of serum creatinine level in this population to estimate kidney function and the psychosocial challenges inherent with treating systemic manifestations of psychiatric conditions. In this review, we discuss kidney diseases and kidney-associated conditions that occur in individuals with anorexia nervosa, summarizing many of the challenges in treating patients with this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / physiopathology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cystatin C / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemia / complications
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology*
  • Kidney Calculi / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / etiology
  • Nephritis, Interstitial / physiopathology
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / etiology
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / physiopathology


  • Cystatin C
  • Creatinine