#RefeedingSyndrome is a dangerous side effect of recovering from an eating disorder ⚠️🚨 which NOT many people know about! I'd never thought that when I was suddenly started eating, after years of starvation, that my body would try to kill me 😱❌ I mean I thought it would be thankful it was suddenly receiving nutrients! But the body is more complex than that and rapidly introducing a larger intake can be fatal.
The body acts to remain in homeostasis, trying to maintain its internal environment within very narrow limits 🙌🏻 Starvation causes it to adjustment functions in order to account for the decreased energy intake. This includes changing the main energy source, reducing red blood cell production and suppressing insulin release. Electrolytes levels also deplete 📉 The body can still function in this state, however its in "survival mode" and under constant strain 💪🏻
Refeeding is the process of restoring nutrients to the body after a period of malnutrition, but if done without proper medical supervision the body basically fights against the sudden change to its environment 👊🏻💥 During refeeding, insulin secretion resumes and requires electrolytes such as magnesium, phosphate and potassium which are already in low levels. The use up of these minerals leads to cellular dysfunction and can cause inadequate oxygen supply to tissue and organs 💔 Resulting symptoms are fluid retention 💦 electrolyte disturbances, hypoglycaemia and hypermetabolism 🔥 If unmonitored, it can further lead to cardiac arrhythmia, convulsions, coma and cardiac failure. I myself had several hypoglycaemic episodes where I passed out due to extremely low blood pressure, ending up in ICU.
The beginning of refeeding syndrome can be seen through pitting edema in the ankles, lower limbs or back (bottom left), low blood pressure and blood sugar, thiamine (B1) and electrolyte deficiencies, general weakness and fatigue. It's important to be aware of the severe consequences that come with refeeding after starvation, especially if you decide to begin recovery independently! If you have any of these symptoms whilst in early stages of refeeding please go to your doctor! 👩🏼⚕️✔️ Stay safe xxx