Anorexia Tied to Quadrupled Risk of Early Death in Both Men, Women

Risk even higher with psychiatric comorbidity, particularly when diagnosed at young age

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 14, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Early mortality in people with anorexia nervosa (AN) is high, particularly among those with a psychiatric comorbidity, according to a study published online June 12 in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Mette Søeby, M.D., from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues investigated overall and cause-specific mortality in individuals with AN from 1977 to 2018. Analysis included 14,774 patients with AN followed for a median 9.1 years and matched (1:10) individuals from the general population.

The researchers found that in patients with AN, the weighted average risk for all-cause mortality was more than quadrupled (adjusted hazard ratio, 4.5). At the index AN date, psychiatric comorbidity was present in 47 percent of patients, which was associated with a 1.9-fold increase in 10-year mortality versus patients without comorbidity. When the psychiatric comorbidity was diagnosed at age 6 to 25 years, all-cause mortality risk was increased fourfold. There were no sex differences for mortality risk. Suicide was the cause of 13.9 percent of all deaths in patients with AN (subdistribution hazard ratio, 10.7). Death from natural causes remained increased with AN (subdistribution hazard ratio, 3.8).

“These findings stress the importance of detection and treatment of psychiatric comorbidities alongside the eating disorder to prevent fatal outcome,” the authors write.

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