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In biology, "polyphagia" is a type of phagy, referring to an animal that feeds on many kinds of food.
ICD-10 R63.2
ICD-9 783.6

Polyphagia or hyperphagia refers to excessive hunger or increased appetite.[1] It derives from the Greek words πολύς (polys) which means "very much" or "many", and φαγῶ (phago) meaning "eating" or "devouring".

In medicine[edit]

In medicine, ‘polyphagia' (sometimes known as hyperphagia) is a medical sign meaning excessive hunger and abnormally large intake of solids by mouth. It can be caused by disorders such as diabetes, Kleine-Levin Syndrome (a malfunction in the hypothalamus), the genetic disorders Prader-Willi Syndrome, and Bardet Biedl Syndrome.[2]


Causes of increased appetite include:[3]

Diabetic ketoacidosis[edit]

Polyphagia usually occurs early in the course of diabetic ketoacidosis.[4] However, once insulin deficiency becomes more severe and ketoacidosis develops, appetite is suppressed.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berthoud HR, Lenard NR, Shin AC (2011). "Food reward, hyperphagia, and obesity.". Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 300 (6): R1266–77. doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00028.2011. PMC 3119156. PMID 21411768. 
  2. ^ OMIM::Prader-WilliOMIM::Bardet-Biedl
  3. ^ NIH Medline plus
  4. ^ Elliott RE, Jane JA, Wisoff JH (2011). "Surgical management of craniopharyngiomas in children: meta-analysis and comparison of transcranial and transsphenoidal approaches.". Neurosurgery 69 (3): 630–43; discussion 643. doi:10.1227/NEU.0b013e31821a872d. PMID 21499159. 
  5. ^ Masuzaki H, Tanaka T, Ebihara K, Hosoda K, Nakao K (2009). "Hypothalamic melanocortin signaling and leptin resistance--perspective of therapeutic application for obesity-diabetes syndrome.". Peptides 30 (7): 1383–6. doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2009.04.008. PMID 19394382. 

External links[edit]