Rarest Medical Conditions In The World
Medical technology and the invention of new medicines has done a great deal to extend the natural life of human beings. Regardless of those advances and treatments, there are a handful of illnesses that do not have any definitive cure. Here are a list of some of the rarest diseases in the entire world:
1. Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria
Perhaps at the top of the list is a disease more ‘commonly’ known as Progeria. It is genetic mutation characterized by what appears to be unusually advanced aging in children.
Doctors have tried things like growth hormone therapy and anti-cancer drugs, but so far there is no definitive cure. Those who treat the condition focus mostly on the complications related to the disease and how to treat them.
Currently, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria affects only 80 children in the world, 18 of that group living in the United States. Sam Berns, a 17-year-old boy with the appearance of an 80-year-old, was diagnosed with Progeria at 22 months old and died in January 2014 of complications from the disease.
2. Fields’ Disease
Perhaps the rarest of all diseases on the list is Fields’ disease. It affects only two people in the entire world, Welsh twins Catherine and Kirstie Fields. Doctors first saw signs of the disease in the twins at age four. Because it has not been matched to any known diseases, the twins have undergone numerous tests, but a treatment still eludes them.
By the time they turned nine, Catherine and Kirstie were unable to walks without the assistance of ‘frames.’
Their muscles deteriorate over time requiring the use of an “electronic speaking aid,” as they are unable to speak themselves. And due to the effect it has on the nerves, they are prone to involuntary muscle movement such as trembling hands. Despite the severity of its effects on a person’s physical health, the twins’ brains do not appear affected.
3. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva
This is a rare disorder that affects the connective tissue in the human body in an odd way. Another with no known treatment, one of the telling signs of those affected is malformation of the big toe.
This disease causes the body’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments to turn into bone and form a secondary skeleton outside of the first. While some muscle turning into bone is normal, the disease causes a malfunction in the genes that makes bone grow too often and too quickly.
FOP starts early in childhood, beginning at the shoulders and neck first and progressing to lower parts of the body over time. How quickly the disease progresses depends on the individual affected. Removal of the affected tissue also only causes the body to create more of the bone.
Worldwide, it affects only 3,500 people.
4. Von Hippel-Lindau Disease
Also referred to as Familial cerebello retinal angiomatosis, it is a rare disorder characterized by the distribution of tumors and cysts throughout the body. Headaches, problems with balance and walking, dizziness, vision problems, and high blood pressure are signs and symptoms of the disease.
The tumors, medically hemangioblastomas, grow in the retina, brain and spinal cord. They grow from newly formed blood vessels and although benign, still carry the potential to become malignant.
Symptoms are often observed in young adulthood, but can also occur throughout a patient’s life. It affects about 1 in 36,000 people.
It is a rare condition in which the head of an infant appears smaller than normal as a result of an improperly developed brain. Signs of the disease may show at birth or it may be determined later on in life.
Those with the condition often suffer from other things such as poor speech, poor motor function, intellectual disability, abnormal facial features, seizures, and dwarfism.
No treatment has been found to return the head size to normal. On occasion, some patients had eventually grown and develop normal intelligence levels.
6. Paranoplastic Pemphigus
In the category of autoimmune disorders, the blistering of the skin and mucous membranes is caused by an underlying tumor. Patients with the disease develop both benign and malignant tumors, with a 90% mortality rate among those with malignant masses.
The blisters associated PNP appear in the mouth, throat, lips, and random places on the skin. Treatment so far is limited to specific wound healing. Current research is focused on treating the tumor that causes the symptoms.
The informal name of a disease self-diagnosed by a woman named Mary Leitao, she claimed it was evidenced by the presence of fibers in the sores that sufferers developed. Though the disease is not well-understood, it is the general agreement that Morgellons is a form of delusional parasitosis.
The “sores” that are supposedly caused by the disease have turned out to be caused by compulsive scratching.