Francine Joyce
Eating Disorders

“Deadly Anorexia – a true story"

Anorexia is a silent monster, The story of a patient ...

“Deadly Anorexia – a true story"
Photo by Laura Chouette / Unsplash

Do not ignore symptoms or early signs of an eating disorder ; Never wait to seek advice from a professionnal ...

This is the true story of a beautiful 17 old girl who came with her mother to my Earl’s Court London clinic 5 years ago, with a referral letter from her general practitioner. He was concerned about her rapid and steady weight loss, and her absence of menstruation. The analysis of her body composition which I performed on that day, showed a very low BMI and a fat mass under 12%. Her blood pressure, and most importantly, her heart beats were both really low too. She looked pale and tired and I was immediately concerned by her present condition.

I explained to her that her body (more particularly her heart) must be exhausted but she replied that No, everything was fine, that she managed to juggle her studies with an intense modelling activity. In reality, her calorie and especially lipid intakes were so low that they were not sufficient to support her vital functions for much longer ; It was adrenaline that allowed her heart to beat and her body to function... at the risk of silent and extremely dangerous cardiac rhythm disorders. I suggested an immediate hospitalization, but the two women refused. Faced with my insistence... they agreed to a clinical assessment AFTER a Haute Couture fashion show for which the young girl had been selected in Paris the following week. Despite my warnings, the patient travelled to France and enjoyed a glamourous time on a prestigious catwalk... but unfortunately, she collapsed backstage. She suffered a heart attack from which she did not recover.

This tragedy continues to haunt me. I think of her every day and every time a patient suffering from anorexia comes into my clinic.  

If you have any doubts, don't wait. Seek help.

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