Junk food worshiping teen goes deaf and blind due to diet

Nutritional Deficiency

Throughout the Western world, many people love feasting on fries, chips, and other unhealthy carbs. It’s no big mystery that the teens and young adults of today consume fewer healthier vitamins and minerals than their elders. For one junk food worshipping teen in the UK, a condition called ARFID has resulted in him becoming deaf and blind.

A rare condition with lasting consequences

Officially known as Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, ARFID is rare, but it can make life challenging. Those who suffer from it will limit foods based on their appearance, smell, and texture. For example, while they may feel happy to eat yogurt, the thought of a carrot could send them into a downward spiral.

In the case of the teen boy we’re discussing, his problems began around the age of seven. His Mom began to notice that he was returning home without having eaten most of his lunch. Between that point and the age of 14, he would dine primarily on chips, sausages, fries, and processed ham. The result was that his diet lacked nutrients to the point that his visual and hearing development worsened.

Around the age of 14, the young man’s eyesight began to rapidly deteriorate. Today, his Mom spends much of her time caring for him, as a lack of sight and hearing has left him unable to care for himself. Sadly, his future working prospects have been altered, as he cannot complete the computer science course he hoped would enrich is future.

The importance of balancing minerals and nutrients

Taking a purist approach to avoiding junk food isn’t necessary. But this case does remind us why we need to start prioritizing a broad selection of nutrients.

Officially, malnutrition is a disorder that involves not getting enough of the right nutrients. You don’t need to be severely underweight to suffer from it, you only need to be lacking in the right foods. Depending on the criteria doctors use to measure malnutrition, anywhere between 15 and 50% of adults in the United States suffer from the disorder.

In the case of the teen boy we’ve discussed, it’s likely that a lack of vitamins C and E resulted in reduced hearing. Additionally, not getting enough vitamin A can cause damage to your optic nerve.

Although it’s unlikely that the nutritional deficiencies adults in the Western World suffer from would have the same results, it’s worth paying attention to your diet. Living with a nutritional deficiency often produces subtle symptoms rather than obvious ones. In the interest of living as healthy a lifestyle as possible, many of us could take a step back and question whether our current approach is okay.

If you want to safeguard your health, audit your diet and look at what you may be missing. With the Internet at your fingertips, identifying what you need to get more of is hardly an impossible task.


About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.