Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa Complicated by Diabetes Mellitus: The Case for Permissive Hyperglycemia

Internation Journal of Eating Disorders
By Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS


The coexistence of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and anorexia nervosa results in an increased incidence of known diabetic complications such as retinopathy and nephropathy, presumably because blood glucose is difficult to control within the throes of comorbid anorexia nervosa. In addition, even when a diabetic patient with anorexia nervosa has committed to resolving his or her eating disorder, glucose control is again difficult and fraught with complexity and peril as will be highlighted in the following case report. Prudence dictates that strict glucose control is not indicated for the relatively short period of time that constitutes the early stage of refeeding in a patient with severe anorexia nervosa. Rather, “permissive hyperglycemia” may be the more optimal course to pursue, as a clinical strategy which is considerate of both the criticality of the refeeding treatment plan and of the long-term nature of the diabetic illness. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014; 47:671–674)

Written by

Philip S. Mehler, MD, FACP, FAED, CEDS

Dr. Philip S. Mehler began his career at Denver Health more than 35 years ago and was formerly its Chief of Internal Medicine and then Denver Health’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) until he was promoted…

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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