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Other namesHyperphagia
SpecialtyEndocrinology, psychiatry

Polyphagia or hyperphagia is excessive hunger or increased appetite.[1]

It 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),[citation needed] and the genetic disorders Prader–Willi syndrome and Bardet–Biedl syndrome.[2] Knocking out vagal nerve receptors has been shown to cause hyperphagia.[3]


Causes of increased appetite include:[4]

Diabetic ketoacidosis[edit]

Polyphagia usually occurs early in the course of diabetic ketoacidosis.[6] However, once insulin deficiency becomes more severe and ketoacidosis develops, appetite is suppressed.[7]

Etymology and pronunciation[edit]

The word polyphagia (/ˌpɒliˈfiə/) uses combining forms of poly- + -phagia, from the Greek words πολύς (polys), "very much" or "many", and φαγῶ (phago), "eating" or "devouring".

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 to
  3. ^ de Lartigue G, Ronveaux CC, Raybould HE (2014). "Deletion of leptin signaling in vagal afferent neurons results in hyperphagia and obesity". Molecular Metabolism. 3 (6): 595–607. doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2014.06.003. PMC 4142400. PMID 25161883.
  4. ^ Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. "Appetite - increased". nih.gov.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Polyphagia: Symptoms and Causes of Increased Appetite". Diabetes UK. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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]