Humans are susceptible to a variety of physical diseases. While most are common, some diseases are quite rare. Being diagnosed with an unusual disease is often worrisome because it may be difficult to find a doctor experienced in treating it. Drugs for the condition may be expensive or nonexistent. People with unusual diseases often find support from organizations devoted to their particular illness.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Gottron syndrome is an inherited disorder that causes the sufferer to look prematurely aged. The subcutaneous fat under the skin withers away, causing the skin to appear fragile. The hands and feet are particularly affected. The individual with Gottron’s is short in stature, with a small jaw and small hands and feet. As the person ages, he becomes vulnerable to cataracts, endocrine problems and early-onset dementia.
Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease is another rare disorder that can manifest within a number of days. The American Uveitis Society explains that a typical sufferer complains first of headache, scalp tenderness, ringing in the ears and neck stiffness. Fever also may be present. Visual difficulties may rapidly develop, with vision loss and pain in the eye. Untreated, the vision may worsen. A person’s hair may whiten or fall out. Hearing loss and whitening of the skin are also common. This disease is often treatable, but it is important to seek prompt treatment to preserve sight.
Locked-in syndrome is a devastating condition in which the person is completely paralyzed except for being able to move the eyes. It is usually caused by injury, disease or a drug. The mind remains intact, unlike a vegetative state. The person must receive around-the-clock care and be fed by a feeding tube or intravenous line. Some people experience a degree of recovery from locked-in syndrome that usually requires extensive rehabilitation.
Apert syndrome is a genetic condition present at birth. An infant has multiple abnormalities, including webbed hands and feet. The fingers and toes are unusually short and the second to fourth fingers may be fused and share one fingernail while the big toe and thumb are broader than normal. The eyes are widely spaced and visibly protrude. Skull abnormalities cause the head to appear pointed at the top. Avert International Inc. explains that these individuals are at increased risk of heart problems, kidney problems and female reproductive problems. Many sufferers have mental retardation.
About this Author
A professional writer since 2007, Lucy Boyd has authored two medical books. Magazines such as \”PI Magazine\” and \”A&U – America\’s AIDS Magazine\” call on her to create articles explaining psychiatric and medical issues. Boyd is a registered nurse who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of the State of New York, Regents College.