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In biology, "polyphagia" is a type of phagy, referring to an animal that feeds on many kinds of food.
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 R63.2
ICD-9-CM 783.6
DiseasesDB 29453
MeSH D006963

Polyphagia or hyperphagia is 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), and 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. ^ 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. 
  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]