A Texas woman with a rare condition that requires her to eat every 15 minutes to stay healthy has perplexed doctors worldwide, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Despite consuming 60 small meals equaling 5,000 to 8,000 calories each day, Lizzie Velasquez, 21, has zero percent body fat and weighs just 56 pounds. The communications student weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces when she was born four weeks premature.
"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," Velazquez said.
Velazquez is involved in a genetic study run by Professor Abhimanyu Garg at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Garg now believes she could suffer from Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS), which prevents people from gaining weight and often gives their faces a triangular shape and a pinched nose. The rare disease causes accelerated aging, tissue degeneration and loss of fat from the face and body.
"We cannot predict what will happen to Lizzie in the future as the medical community are yet to document older people with NPS,” Garg said. "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."
Previously, Velazquez’s case left doctors and genetic experts scratching their heads.
A book documenting her story, which she helped write, is scheduled for release this September.