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Polyphagia: causes and treatment | Viasox

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Polyphagia or bulimia is an overwhelming feeling of extreme hunger. It’s often a sign of diabetes, but it can also be caused by other symptoms, such as: hyperthyroidism and certain types of atypical depression. If you are suffering from this type of insatiable hunger, it is important to consult a medical professional.

Understanding polyphagia

What exactly is polyphagia or bulimia? It refers to a disorder of excessive and unsatisfied appetite. This symptom can be associated with various medical conditions. Interestingly, eating food does not satisfy this strong hunger feeling, except for the following reasons: hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia.

The increased food intake caused by this condition can lead to weight gain, but this is not always the case. In some cases, unexplained weight loss may occur.

Although it is natural to feel more hungry after fasting or strenuous exercise, the acute, excessive hunger experienced with bulimia can indicate a health problem, such as diabetes, that requires medical attention. This often happens.

Are polyphagia and bulimia the same?

It’s important to understand that bulimia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are not the same thing, although both conditions involve overeating.

  • Bulimia (bed) Ingestion of large amounts of food in a short period of time, feeling of loss of control during eating, followed by feelings of guilt or shame. It is classified as an eating disorder caused by psychological factors and is not necessarily caused by physical hunger.
  • PolyphagiaOn the other hand, it refers to excessive physical hunger and increased food intake as a symptom of an underlying disease (diabetes, hyperthyroidism, etc.), but is generally not caused by emotional or psychological factors.

This distinction is important for diagnosis and treatment because the underlying causes and treatment approaches vary widely.

Causes of polyphagia

The causes behind polyphagia or bulimia are diverse. Although this condition is uncommon, it is associated with diabetes that is either undiagnosed or not effectively managed.

Other factors that can cause polyphagia include:

  • Symptoms related to hormonal imbalance.
  • mental health problems.
  • A rare medical condition.
  • malnutrition, especially nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to polyphagia. Nutrient deficiencies occur when the body does not receive or absorb enough nutrients due to improper diet.

Contains certain drugs corticosteroid and cannabinoid (cannabis-related), can also induce bulimia. If you notice a significant increase in hunger after starting a new medication, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider.

polyphagia and diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body cannot produce enough substances. insulin It can also effectively use insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin is an important hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin deficiency causes a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream, known as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels.

Our body uses glucose from food as its main source of energy. Without insulin, your body can’t use glucose for energy, making you feel hungry.

The three main categories of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes (T1D): This form is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin and glucose builds up in the blood. When this glucose is no longer available for energy, the body begins to break down fat and muscle for energy at an accelerated rate, resulting in significant weight loss along with bulimia.
  • Type 2 diabetes (T2D): In this condition, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells are insulin resistant and do not respond effectively to insulin. This type is the most common form of diabetes. Polyphagia in T2D may be less noticeable than in T1D because the levels of hyperglycemia are generally less severe.
  • gestational diabetes: Occurs when cells become resistant to insulin due to pregnancy hormones. The pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to counter this resistance, which can lead to subtle symptoms such as increased hunger and frequent urination.

Polyphagia is one of the three main indicators of diabetes, along with:

Medical professionals collectively refer to these symptoms as .3Ps of diabetes.“It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by rapid weight loss. Untreated, undiagnosed type 1 diabetes can be life-threatening. People with diabetes, Patients with T1D in particular may also experience polyphagia during episodes.”Hypoglycemia is treated by ingesting glucose to bring blood sugar levels back into the normal range. Hypoglycemia can occur even in people without diabetes.


Relationship between polyphagia and other hormonal disorders

Polyphagia has been linked not only to diabetes but also to a variety of hormone-related diseases, including:

  • hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease: In these diseases, the thyroid gland overproduces hormones that are important in regulating metabolism, the process by which the body converts food into energy. Excess thyroid hormone accelerates metabolic rate, leading to rapid calorie consumption, persistent hunger, and potential weight loss.
  • premenstrual syndrome (PMS): PMS This includes a variety of symptoms that appear one to two weeks before the start of menstruation and recur monthly. Polyphagia can be a condition caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, as well as decreased levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that affects mood and appetite.
  • insulinoma: A rare tumor that develops in the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This tumor causes overproduction of insulin, causing low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Excessive hunger is a key sign of this hypoglycemia, as the body needs sugar to normalize blood sugar levels.

Polyphagia and mental health conditions

Bulimia can also be a symptom of a variety of mental health conditions.

  • atypical depression: This subtype of depression differs from the symptoms of normal depression, with increased appetite and sleep being a prominent symptom.
  • stress: During stressful times, your body produces more cortisol, a hormone that increases blood sugar levels and increases hunger.
  • anxiety disorder: Just like stress, Anxiety can increase cortisol levels, leading to a consistent feeling of hunger. Additionally, intense hunger in situations of anxiety may result from emotional eating to relieve distressing emotions.

Polyphagia and rare medical diseases

Polyphagia may indicate certain rare medical conditions.

  • cushing syndrome: This condition occurs due to high cortisol levels in the body, either due to medication or due to excessive cortisol production in the body. In addition to various symptoms such as increased appetite and weight gain, it can cause symptoms such as rounding of the face, fat deposits on the back of the neck, and thinning of the skin. cushing syndrome It is relatively rare and requires medical evaluation for diagnosis and treatment.
  • Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS): A rare genetic disease that affects a child’s metabolism and causes obvious physical and behavioral changes. Children with PWS usually begin to experience intense hunger around the age of two, which results in weight gain.
  • Klein-Levin syndrome: This extremely rare disease is characterized by episodes of excessive sleepiness that cause the person to fall asleep for long periods of time. Additional symptoms may occur during these episodes, such as increased hunger.

Treatment of polyphagia

Treatment focuses on addressing the root cause. Excessive hunger usually subsides when the underlying symptoms are effectively managed.

For type 1 diabetes, ongoing insulin therapy and frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels are essential.Quick-acting solutions, such as consuming sugary foods or drinks or administering drugs glucagon Injection or something nasal powder Hypoglycemia is necessary to restore normal blood sugar levels. Treatment of hyperthyroidism may include the use of: antithyroid drugs, Radioactive iodine therapyor opt for surgical intervention to remove the overactive thyroid tissue.

If a particular drug makes polyphagia worse, your health care professional may consider adjusting the dose or switching to an alternative treatment to reduce hunger symptoms.

Beyond these direct treatments, adjunctive strategies play an important role in the management of polyphagia across a variety of conditions.

  • dietary counseling: Particularly beneficial for people with Prader-Willi syndrome and those with atypical depression, dietary counseling can help them recognize hunger cues and establish healthier eating patterns.
  • behavioral therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) It focuses on replacing emotional eating with healthier coping mechanisms and is beneficial in dealing with bulimia associated with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
  • medication adjustment: People who experience excessive hunger as a side effect of certain medications, such as corticosteroids or psychiatric medications, may need to review and adjust their current medication regimen.
  • complementary therapy: Addressing nutritional deficiencies by supplementing with vitamins and minerals is important to correct imbalances that can lead to polyphagia.
  • physical activity: Physical activity helps regulate appetite and improve insulin sensitivity, making it particularly beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes.
  • psychological support: Emotional and psychological support through counseling and support groups can significantly help individuals cope with the challenges of the chronic illness that causes bulimia, and provide a platform for coping strategies and community support.

With this multifaceted approach, treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms of polyphagia and improving quality of life through holistic management of an individual’s health.

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