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Low Heart Rate/Eating Disorder

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Buckeye Wife posted 10/24/2013 19:08 PM

I've been concerned about my DD's weight. She was a bit heavy in jr. high. As a freshman, she lost about 15-20 during volleyball (June-October). She changed her eating -- really healthy (fruits, veggies, lots of chicken).

This summer on vacation, she was extremely careful with her portion sizes and what she ate. We talked several times and she said she'd eat more. By this time, she's lost another 15 pounds or so (October - July).

At her physical (with our local chiropractor), nothing abnormal showed up except the lighter weight. By this time, she had added more food to her diet,but still only healthy foods. Never a cupcake, cookie, etc.

Well, it's time for basketball, and something told me to get her checked out. I read online that eating disorders can cause damage to the heart. I wanted to ensure she is healthy enough to play.

She's 5'4" and weighs about 108. Her liver enzymes were high (one about 3x normal, the other 2x normal). Sorry I don't have the results. Her heart rate was 48.....48! The doctor said it could be that low due to being in such great shape.

I've seen her arms and legs shrink, and I just realized that her heart is a muscle, and maybe it shrank too. I am so scared for her. She is adding more calories, and this has her attention too.

She has OCD tendencies, and she's had therapy before. I am looking for a therapist locally for her.

Another doctor reviewed her results, and gave the go ahead as long as she is consistently upping her calories. We will retest the liver enzymes and her weight in a month.

I took her to the doctor to ensure she's healthy enough to play (she'll play all-out the entire time), and the numbers I've seen scare me. How do I know she can tolerate the physical activity?

Rebreather posted 10/24/2013 19:31 PM

I really can't say about her, but I am 5'4" and weighed 108 when I graduated HS. I was perfectly strong and healthy.

If that helps at all.

gma56 posted 10/24/2013 20:05 PM

Back in the day I was about the same height and weight as your DD.

Maybe a sport nutritionist would be helpful.
There are special diets for athletes to maintain their their muscle and endurance.

[This message edited by gma56 at 8:06 PM, October 24th (Thursday)]

purplejacket4 posted 10/24/2013 21:51 PM

That's a little on the light side for her height but not alarmingly so. If she's still having periods generally a person isn't endangering their health. However, it sounds like she lost weight too fast. The heart rate can be from either being an athlete or from being underweight. Did the doctor check her cholesterol and triglycerides? EKG? Magnesium? Phosphorus?

I've mentioned before I'm the medical director of a division I student health and board Certified in Family Medicine and Adolescent medicine so this area is my bread and butter so to speak. If she doesn't put a few ponds back on she will need a nutritionist and a therapist. Preferably both will have experience with eating disposers. Feel free to PM me.

Buckeye Wife posted 10/24/2013 22:30 PM

Thanks for your replies. She was always muscular and very strong. She has lost a lot of weight.

Her sister is 5'7" about 116 lbs, but she has always been built that way. DD has gone from the strongest in her class on teams to one of the smallest.

No, he didn't check cholesterol or triglycerides. I think magnesium was measured & ok, but there was no EKG.

Bless her heart, she ate A LOT today. She loves basketball and wants to be well enough to play. I hope that desire is enough to help get her through. Still looking for a good counselor though. Heck, we live in a town that doesn't even have a stoplight. It'll be over an hour for therapy sessions.

[This message edited by Buckeye Wife at 10:31 PM, October 24th (Thursday)]

tushnurse posted 10/25/2013 07:27 AM

The heart rate doesn't concern me either. Which of her liver enzymes were elevated? I'm concerned that with a kid that age having lost that much weight that she may not be eating at this point due to colicy pain if she does eat something bad, the pain in accompianment with the elevated liver numbers can be an indicator of gall bladder issues.

The lipid Panel that PJ asks about tells us if she is truly starving herself.
I can tell you a smilar story with my youngest niece, she was always a fat baby, and thick kid. she was an athlete always, and ate whatever she wanted. Going into her Freshman year of high school she played summer Basketball, fall golf, and regular basketball. She went from being a thick kid to SKINNY, could see her hip bones, and ribs. I don't know what her weight was but she dropped a significant amount of weight. She was in awesome shape, she was also running. She started to eat a lot healthier too. She will eat junk occasionally, but she is very contcientious that she has the tendency to gain if she does not keep it in check. Therefore she is still thin, and gets downright skinny during basketball, she just burns more than she can eat.

My point is as long as she is getting good proteins and fats, and eating healthy otherwise, she may have just found her new normal, and good for her. Hopefully the liver numbers will equalize in the next month or so. If she does start having belly pain with eating though, I would definitely let the doctor know, as fast weight loss is often followed by gall bladder issues.

Keep an eye on her, but try not to make a huge deal about it. With her OCD tendencies it could quickly become an eating disorder, but honestly at this point it sounds like a kid finding her new normal.

Spirit13 posted 10/25/2013 10:57 AM

As a mom, I think your instincts are right to be concerned. Eating disorders are so common and frankly I think she is showing you some signs that she *might* be at risk. What I heard that would worry me is

1) that she once was a little heavy and then lost quite a bit of weight

2) she was really restricting and "never a cupcake, never a cookie"

3) she said she'd eat more but then lost more weight instead

4) you visibly are seeing her arms shrink

5) you saw her eat "a LOT" (she could be purging without you knowing)

6) she already has OCD tendencies

I'm not saying she has an eating disorder but I would say you should not dismiss your worries and you should really stay on top of this. If she was already a naturally thin girl who had always been light then her weight wouldn't concern me - but the above things - do cause me to want you to stay close.

Dreamboat posted 10/25/2013 11:33 AM

My DD is 5'3" and weighs about 103-105 and is also an athlete. She plays softball in the fall and runs track in the spring. During softball season she is pretty laid back about eating but is but is borderline fanatical during track. She does not restrict portion size but she will only eat lean proteins, fruits & veggies, whole wheat carbs, etc. Since I cook dinner for her I had to educate myself about healthy diets for athlete. I suggest that you do the same.

My DD has always been tiny so her weight has never concerned me. I have always watched her for possible signs of eating disorder because they are so prevalent in young girls but I have not seen any signs. She does not restrict her eating, only the types of foods that she eats and only then when she is training. She has always eaten when she is hungry but never when she is not hungry.

With your DD I think you are correct to be watchful. What concerns me about her is the rapid loss of weight and restricting her portion size. As an athlete she needs to be consuming more calories when training than other people her size. I read the Lolo Jones is eating close to 9000 calories while training for the Olympic bobsled team But it needs to be healthy calories, not a bunch of fat and sugar. Lots of protean, lots of healthy carbs, and lots of fruits and veggies. Perhaps you and your DD can research healthy diets for athletes online.

I also think you should follow up on her high liver enzymes. That would concern me.


lynnm1947 posted 10/25/2013 14:03 PM

My resting heart rate is 54. No one seems too worried about that.

Kalleigh posted 10/25/2013 14:31 PM

my daughters heart rate today at the Dr was 63. That was a resting rate

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