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Draconess25
03-16-2014, 01:42 AM
I've found plenty of information on how a healthy person would handle starvation, but not everyone is the world is healthy.

My character is female, 18 years old, and 10 lbs underweight. She already doesn't eat and drink regularly, maybe 500-1000 calories and a bottle of water a day. On the other hand, she does exercise regularly, eat healthy when she does eat, and avoids medication like the plague. She also has hypoglycemia, anemia, was an alcoholic from the time she was 15-17, and has very little will to live.

How would starvation affect someone this unhealthy?

How long would she last?

Histry Nerd
03-16-2014, 02:12 AM
I'm sure somebody with more knowledge will come in with a better answer presently, but the highly-variable rule of thumb is a human can survive about three weeks without food. Factor in your character's general unhealthiness and lack of will to live, and I'd give her a week. If decides she wants to die and stops drinking water, too, cut her timeline to two days (rule of thumb is three).

These are very rough estimates, but I'd find them plausible based on the character you've described. A medical professional will come by shortly with a more detailed answer, I'm sure.

L.C. Blackwell
03-16-2014, 07:58 AM
I've found plenty of information on how a healthy person would handle starvation, but not everyone is the world is healthy.

My character is female, 18 years old, and 10 lbs underweight. She already doesn't eat and drink regularly, maybe 500-1000 calories and a bottle of water a day. On the other hand, she does exercise regularly, eat healthy when she does eat, and avoids medication like the plague. She also has hypoglycemia, anemia, was an alcoholic from the time she was 15-17, and has very little will to live.

How would starvation affect someone this unhealthy?

How long would she last?

Someone who exercises regularly while drinking minimal water--say 20 oz. a day--and eats half to a quarter of recommended intakes is already on their way to collapse.

She's probably destroyed most of her major muscle tissue, and she will definitely be more than ten pounds underweight if she's kept this up for any length of time. Her body is currently in starvation mode; and that's before being deprived of all food.

I'm not a doctor, but if she were taken to the hospital comatose in four to seven days, it wouldn't surprise me--which is possibly taking a long view in light of the hypoglycemia.

Other points:

The severity of her hypoglycemia and anemia are going to be factors--but they will be opposed by the fact that her body has learned to compensate for all the mistreatment she's put it through.

As has been said, without water, she will die very quickly. If you give her water, but cut her off from all food-- Frankly, I wouldn't like to guess, but given her other medical conditions, starvation could trigger a crash at almost any point.

The lack of desire to live will kill her faster than anything else--it's amazing what the human body can suffer and survive, but it's not easy to fight the human mind.

Collin123
03-18-2014, 02:55 PM
I've found plenty of information on how a healthy person would handle starvation, but not everyone is the world is healthy.

My character is female, 18 years old, and 10 lbs underweight. She already doesn't eat and drink regularly, maybe 500-1000 calories and a bottle of water a day. On the other hand, she does exercise regularly, eat healthy when she does eat, and avoids medication like the plague. She also has hypoglycemia, anemia, was an alcoholic from the time she was 15-17, and has very little will to live.

How would starvation affect someone this unhealthy?
It would exacerbate any symptoms she already has from the hypoglycemia and anemia. Tachycardia and low blood pressure (which can lead to fainting) would also be an issue.

How long would she last? depends on her constitution and severity of her health problems.

EMaree
03-18-2014, 03:55 PM
L.C. Blackwell mentioned the exercise issue, and it's the biggest plausibility issue I can see. What kind of exercise is the character doing?

Someone with that low a calorie and water consumption would really struggle in any kind of intensive exercise. They could probably manage a low-intensity exercise like walking or hiking, but anything more strenuous or muscle-intensive like jogging would be extremely difficult to the point where most people would just give up. Fight scenes would be out of the question.

The exertion coupled with dehydration would make them very likely to pass out, or even have a heart attack from the strain of the exercise. And they'd have to fight off some very strong biological impulses to drink water and consume calories.