Schiavo Eating Disorder - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/1/04

Schiavo Eating Disorder

When Terri Schiavo was young, she was desperate to be thin. The once 5 foot 3, 200 pound teen, lost 65 pounds with help from an alleged eating disorder. Bulimia may have caused her heart attack and vegetative state.

"We know that when you have purging it causes an electrolyte imbalance, specifically with potassium. And when we get low levels of potassium it will actually stop the heart to the point of a heart attack," says Regina Dick, nutritionist. But she says this is not common.

"This would be a situation where less than 1 percent of the population, and certainly it is very rare in people who have eating disorders," she says.

Eating disorders do lead to several long term health problems though, such as osteoporosis, stomach and esophagus damage and it can ruin your teeth.

Today medical science is only in the early stages of tracking the long term effects of eating disorders and there are no good statistics on how many people die from them. Regina hopes Schiavo's story will remind everyone battling with their body image that eating disorders are not the answer.

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