Coexistence of eating disorders and autoimmune diseases: Record linkage cohort study, UK

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Recent research indicates that eating disorders (ED) are associated with type 1 diabetes and Crohn's disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether, in a hospitalized population, a range of autoimmune diseases (AIDs) occurred more often than expected in people with anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN), and whether AIDs elevated the risk of ED.


Retrospective, record-linkage cohort study using national administrative statistical data on hospital care and mortality in England, 1999–2011. In people admitted when aged 10–44, cohorts of 8,700 females and 651 males with AN, and 4,783 females and 330 males with BN were constructed, along with a control cohort with the same age range. Results were expressed as risk ratios comparing each ED cohort with the control cohort.


The overall rate ratio for an AID after admission for AN was 2.04 (95% confidence interval 1.81–2.28) in females, and 1.14 (0.37–2.67) in males; and, for BN, 1.83 (1.56–2.14) in females, and 4.41 (2.11–8.10) in males. Rate ratios for AN after admission for an AID were 3.34 (2.94–3.79) in females, 3.76 (2.06–6.53) in males; and those for BN were 2.57 (2.22–2.97) in females, and 3.10 (1.50–5.90) in males. There were significant associations between ED and several specific individual AIDs.


Strong associations between ED and specific AIDs exist, although it is not possible from this study to determine if these are causal. Clinicians should be aware of the co-occurrence of these conditions. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.(Int J Eat Disord 2016; 49:663–672)

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