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Aug 2017 On BBC Tomorrow's World, Professor Farooqi speaks about the impact that genes have on the regulation of our appetite and body weight.

 

Aug 2017 Professor Farooqi has been awarded a prestigious Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust.

 

 

One of our patients with

leptin deficiency

 

Ever since I can remember all I was ever told was to watch what I eat...strict diets, watching the calories… and I never understood why.  There were many tears, a lot of upset and a constant worry for my parents.  When it came to mealtimes I was never really happy but since I was only a child this was perfectly understandable.

 

By this time every doctor I met had tried to find a solution to my unexplainable weight gain and constant hunger. I had endured many tests and trials to try to stop gaining weight and none of them had worked. Scans couldn’t determine anything despite trying for many years.


Then when I was 8 years old, I met Dr Sadaf Farooqi. By this time my parents and I had lost hope of finding out what the matter was. The doctor explained everything to me logically and precisely and she sat me down very calmly and explained to me why this was happening. It turned out a simple fault in the genes was the cause and I was missing a vital hormone which aids the burning of calories in the body. From that day onwards, my life took a turn for the better.


When I initially started treatment I didn’t notice much of a difference in the first few weeks because the starting dose was very minute. However what I did notice was that I gradually got less hungry and the weight started to come off. My immune system started to get stronger and I started to feel much better overall. Eventually the dose was increased little by little and a significant amount of weight had come off and has continued to do so. Of course at the time all this was happening, I was a child and then became a teenager and paid attention more to what I looked like rather than what was going on inside like any teenager would. I understand how being that big can single you out and make you feel, it doesn’t allow you to have any self confidence and stops you from socialising and making friends, it affects most aspects of your life.


After the treatment started working I felt so glad that I had taken the risk with the new medication, it has really paid off. I could feel my self-confidence growing as I lost weight and started to be content and happy in the way I looked. All I had to do to feel this way was to take my medicine twice a day and keep a record of my weight. I admit the thought of injections is still not keen for me, but as time goes by you get used to it and hardly any pain is involved. You need to be mindful to rotate the injection sites regularly so you don’t get sores on the skin


In the beginning when you are being tested to see if the drug is suitable for you, there are many visits to the hospital, a lot of tests and hard work goes into it, but if you struggle for a short period of time, I can honestly say that it more than pays off for the rest of your life. I am the normal person I once dreamed of being.


The treatment was a risk for me but if it hadn’t been for that risk, I might not have been here today.