At just 8-months-old, a baby in Punjab, India is leaving more questions than answers among doctors. Chahat Kumar weighs 38 pounds which is double the weight of a normal child her age. A healthy-sized baby girl at that age should be around 17.5 pounds.
When Chahat was born, her mother said she was just like other normal kids. She weight seven pounds, which was right in the average range for a newborn baby. After Chahat turned 4-months-old, her family noticed that she was rapidly gaining weight no matter what they did. “She gets hungrier than other babies,” said her father Suraj Kumar. “She demands her milk and food.” Her parents quickly realized that something wasn’t right and that they needed to find answers.
After Chahat’s parents noticed the dramatic weight increase, they made it their mission to find out what was causing it. The first doctor they went to attempted to take blood samples, but he ran into difficulties. Chahat’s skin was too thick for the needle to pierce through it.
Dr. Vasudev Sharma became Chahat’s doctor. It was the first case he had seen where a child’s weight had dramatically shot that much up since birth. It was Dr. Sharma who suggested that the family visits a pediatric specialist at a civil hospital in Amritsar so that blood tests could be done. Even at Amritsar, doctor’s still didn’t have all the answers for why she was gaining weight that rapidly. That’s because her skin was still too difficult to pierce through with needles in order to run blood tests.
After several months, doctor’s finally had an answer for the family. Chahat suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder which keeps her hungry. This disorder is caused by brain signals which don’t give her the feeling of being full. Those brain signals are necessary for controlling weight because they are what lets someone know that they are full. Otherwise, people don’t know when to stop eating. This is especially problematic for baby’s like Chahat because they don’t understand being told that they had already eaten enough.
The family hopes that eventually there is a solution and that her weight decreases into the normal category. “We want Chahat to be able to play like normal kids,” said Reena Kumar, her mother. “We don’t want her to have difficulties in the future.” The weight of Chahat has been taking a toll on her physical health.
It makes it incredibly difficult for her to get around. She would have to use her arms to drag herself around but that puts too much pressure on her limbs. The family is now working with doctor’s to get Chahat on the right path for a healthy life. For the time being, her mother and father have put her on a diet. The baby’s doctors are working to get her access to hormones which can help treat the disease that she has. With difficulties walking and doing basic activities, Chahat’s health is in jeopardy. It’s a team effort among doctors, Chahat’s family, and other medical professionals in India to get her on the proper path.