Assessment in primary care of suspected eating disorder

Clarification of history and symptoms of eating disorder along with a brief summary of family and personal background.  Useful questions (adapted from the SCOFF questionnaire) include:

  • Are you trying to lose weight?
  • Do you ever make yourself sick after eating?
  • Do you worry about losing control of your eating?
  • Do you think you are fat when others say you are too thin?
  • Would you say that food dominates your life?

Physical assessment and investigations

If an eating disorder is suspected, physical assessment is indicated to exclude other causes of low weight and identify any physical consequences of the disorder.

This will include weight and height, lying and standing BP and pulse as well as more general examination to exclude other causes of weight loss. For those with low pulse rate (under 50) an ECG may be indicated to identify any serious cardiac abnormalities.

Recommended initial blood investigations include: FBC; ESR/CRP; urea and electrolytes (including phosphate, Mg, Ca); liver function tests, glucose, folate, B12; Iron; coeliac screen, thyroid function tests.

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Page last reviewed: 13 September, 2021