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Renal Problems

Renal problems, or kidney damage, is a potentially serious, even life-threatening concern for people with eating disorders. Renal problems are usually due to dehydration and may be worsened by the use of diuretics.

Ketoacidosis is an example of potential renal problems in people with eating disorders. It is a state which involves high levels of acids which build up in the blood caused by the body burning fat rather than sugar and carbohydrates to get energy. The shift from utilizing carbohydrates as energy to fat results in the formation of ketoacids. Kidneys are overwhelmed by the continuous production of ketone bodies resulting in profound acidosis. Common causes are alcohol abuse, starvation, excessive purging, dehydration and hyperglycemia.

Kidney infections and potential kidney failure are also potential renal problems for people with disordered eating. The risk to difficulties with the kidneys increases with dehydration, infection and low blood pressure, and vitamin deficiencies.