Starving to Shed Weight, British Woman Dies of Adverse Metabolic Reaction

by Gopalan on Jul 28 2009 11:35 AM

 Starving to Shed Weight, British Woman Dies of Adverse Metabolic Reaction
Starving to shed weight, a British woman died of adverse metabolic reaction, an inquest heard.
Helen Anderson, 26, was found dead in bed by her mother at her home in South Shields, South Tyneside on April 6.

For several months before her death, the talented musician, who played violin, piano and guitar, existed on a diet of just water and soup.

She lost almost six stone in weight in a matter of months, ignoring pleas from her parents.

Her body was so starved of sugar it began to eat into its own reserve of fat. This caused a metabolic chemical reaction called ketoacidosis, which killed her.

Ketocidosis means dangerously high levels of ketones which are are acids that build up in the blood. Ketones mean the body is burning fat to get energy and one of the reasons for this is when not enough food is eaten.

Large amounts of ketones can cause a chemical upset of the blood which in case of Helen Anderson proved fatal.

Miss Anderson, who had a five-year-old daughter, Niamh-Kate, by a previous marriage had been dieting to lose weight she put on as a side effect to medication, the inquest heard.

Forensic pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton said she had also been taking slimming tablets to speed up her weight loss, but these did not contribute to her death.

At 5ft 9in, the mother-of-one weighed 9st 2lb when she died, having been 15st, and was at the lower end of the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney said: 'This phenomenon - this poison if you like - which developed within her body was made by her body itself.

'It arises as a result of the body reacting to a lack of sugar within itself and that was in part a consequence of the intensive diet with which Helen was attempting to balance her weight.

'The sad truth of the matter is there has been a development within her body, a natural phenomena, which has set up this poisoning of her body's system and has led to her death.

'It is a problem which can develop very rapidly and without the individual appreciating the consequences.

'I am totally certain that she had no intention to cause harm to herself.'


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