Secretary of the Psychiatric Association of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Varma Deyalsingh says if environmental activist Wayne Kublalsingh continues his hunger strike for another week, he risks death.
In a telephone interview yesterday, he explained that while a hunger strike may be a method of political protest, after two weeks of starvation the body begins to protest the lack of sustenance and starts attacking the muscle and affecting the organs, particularly the heart.
This, he said, leaves the person at risk for "organ failure, coma and possible death".
"Any person on a hunger strike or starvation diet, their body will go into what is known as a starvation mode and start to use up all the glycogen in the body.
"With less glucose going to the organs... it starts to breaks down muscles to try and make that into glucose. The person's metabolism starts to slow down; they will get fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.
"Without water, they will experience dehydration and what is known as an electrolyte imbalance," he said.
Asked about the theory that a person cannot go without water for more than three days, Deyalsingh said "it depends on the pre-existing strengths of the individuals".
Deyalsingh added that Kublalsingh could experience physiological effects including impulsive behaviour, irrationality and depression.