Medical Terminology Challenge: Excessive Hunger

Which of the following medical terms means excessive hunger?

A. Hyperglycemia

B. Polydipsia

C. Dysphagia

D. Polyphagia


D. Polyphagia

Polyphagia, also known as hyperphagia, is pronounced pol-ee-FAY-jee-ah, and is excessive or extreme hunger. Broken down into its word parts, poly- means many; -phagia means eating.  

Unlike the increased appetite that may occur after physical activity and then go away after eating,  polyphagia occurs when the excessive hunger doesn’t subside once you have eaten. With polyphagia, there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.

According to healthline.com, some of the underlying causes of polyphagia include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Hyperthyroidism (thyroid works too quickly).
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Diabetes

Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing hyperglycemia due to the medication they take to control high blood sugar. Hyperglycemia can also cause polyphagia in patients with diabetes. 

A, B, and C are incorrect.

Hyperglycemia (high-per-glye-SEE-mee-ah) is an abnormally high concentration of glucose in the blood. hyper- means excessive; glyc means sugar; -emia means blood condition. (A)

Polydipsia (pol-ee-DIP-see-ah) is excessive thirst. -poly means many; -dipsia means thirst. (B)

Dysphagia (dis-FAY-jee-ah) is difficulty swallowing. dys- means difficult; -phagia means swallowing. (C)


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