Lizzie Velasquez eats 8000 calories in 60 meals a day just to stay alive…
Twenty one year-old Lizzie Velasquez may look like she has a severe case of anorexia but the reality is quite different. She suffers from a rare disease which prevents her from gaining weight.
Velasquez, a communication student, has to eat every 15 mins to stay healthy. And despite consuming between 5000 and 8000 calories in over 60 meals per day, she has never tipped over 4st 3lbs.
5ft 2 inches Miss Velasquez, who wears size triple zero clothes said:
“I weigh myself regularly and if I gain even one pound I get really excited. I eat every 15-20 minutes to keep my energy levels up…
“I eat small portions of crisps, sweets, chocolate, pizza, chicken, cake, doughnuts, ice cream, noodles and pop tarts all day long, so I get pretty upset when people accuse me of being anorexic.”
Velasquez was born four weeks prematurely weighing just 2lb 10oz:
“I was actually so small that my baby clothes were actually doll clothes from Toys R Us because that’s all that would fit me!”
Miss Velasquez’s mother Rita, 45, a church secretary said: “They told us they had no idea how she could have survived,”
Despite her condition, Miss Velasquez has healthy teeth, bones and organs. She does, however, suffer other health problems including blindness in one eye, limited vision in the other and a weakened immune system. “A simple cold can bring me down for about two weeks,” Velasquez explains on her website.
Doctors speculated Lizzie might have the genetic disorder De Barsy syndrome but soon ruled it out as it became clear she did not have learning difficulties.
“They kept on trying to figure out what was wrong with her but we treated her like any other child,” said Mrs Velasquez, who charted her daughter’s health in dozens of notebooks. She was then taken to see genetic experts but they still could not diagnose her.
Miss Velasquez’s case has fascinated doctors all over the world and she is part of a genetic study run by Professor Abhimanyu Garg, MD, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Professor Garg and his team now believe Lizzie may have a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS) which causes accelerated ageing, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration. People with PRS often have triangular and prematurely aged faces with a pointy nose.
“I am aware of a small number of people that have similar conditions to Lizzie but each case is slightly different…
“We cannot predict what will happen to Lizzie in the future as the medical community are yet to document older people with NPS…
“However Lizzie is lucky to have healthy teeth, organs and bones so the outlook is good. We will continue to study her case and learn from her.”
Miss Velasquez has helped to write a book about her incredible experience, The book is due for release in September.
- Unavailable, please contact us for more information.