He has not had food for a week, but Anna Hazare is apparently going strong despite weakening health. The 74 year old anti-corruption campaigner seems to have mastered the technique of surviving without food for long periods, say health experts.
Doctors treating Hazare told IANS that the septuagenarian has lost five kg of weight as his fast continued for the seventh day at Ramlila Maidan in the capital. Hazare drinks only water during his fast.
His blood and urine samples are showing up ketone particles, that are created by the body during starvation, and are meant to provide an alternate source of fuel from fatty acids.
"Ketone particles have been traced in his blood and urine. He was 71 kg. After a week of fasting, he has lost five kg of weight; now he weighs 66 kg," Balram Gupta of Medanta Medicity, one of the doctors treating Hazare at the fast venue, told IANS.
"His health is deteriorating but for his age he is strong," said Gupta.
According to health experts, formation of ketone particles is dangerous as it may affect vital organs like kidney and liver. After 60 hours of continuous fasting, any human being body will get dehydrated and blood sugar levels will go down.
"Normally a person is required to take 1.5 litres of water a day for normal functioning of the body. Anna takes around 3 to 4 litres of water. Fasting is not new for Anna who is a follower of Gandhi," said a member of Team Anna.
Meanwhile, Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant (internal medicine) of Max Hospital, said,"It depends on person to person. As per medical literature, anyone who goes on hunger strike can withstand for three weeks, but after that complications creep in.
"Taking Anna's age into consideration, he seems to be strong after a week's fast and his will power is admirable. He seems to be active and fasting for long periods seems to be a practice for this ex-army man. Even people who are much younger can't do this," Tickoo said.
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, 40, had broken his fast against corruption after only nine days. His condition worsened after he kept away from solid food for around a week.
Hazare had earlier gone on a one-day fast protesting police brutality against Baba Ramdev's supporters in June and a five-day-long fast in April when the government conceded to his demand on drafting a strong Lokpal Bill.
"Hazare has high cholesterol and we advised him not to go for such frequent fasts as his health could deteriorate. But he is still going on with the strike," Parag Sancheti, a Pune-based doctor who treated him for osteoarthritis, said.
"We advised him to eat at regular intervals and bed rest. It was really surprising to see Anna running in Rajghat after fasting for four days. I am totally amazed by his will power and determination," Sancheti said.
Hazare has been suffering from osteoarthritis and has been under treatment for the last five years.