Progeria is an extremely rare and progressive genetic disorder that causes the bodies of children to age faster than normal. According to many studies conducted in the field, one out of every four million children born worldwide exhibits Progeria. Children of both genders and all races are equally vulnerable to this health condition and should be diagnosed by a professional clinic.
This rapid aging condition onsets during the first two years of a patient’s life. Progeria-afflicted children will appear normal at birth. Within a year, symptoms such as hair loss, slow growth, etc., start appearing. The average life expectancy for children suffering from Progeria is 13 years. The maximum number of years a child with this health condition can survive is 20. Usually, major health issues such as heart attacks, stroke, etc, are the underlying causes of physical suffering and even death in such children. Unfortunately, as of now, there is no effective treatment to cure Progeria completely.
Unlike what some people think, Progeria is not a hereditary disease, which means it is not passed down in the family. Rather, it is a result of a fault in a gene known as Lamin A or LMNA. Note that this gene is responsible for producing the proteins which hold the nucleus of a cell together. Any defect in this will produce an abnormal protein called Progerin, which eventually makes the cells of the affected child unstable. Usually, cells which consume Progerin tend to break down faster, causing the body of the sufferer to grow old much more quickly.
Children suffering from Progeria start showing certain symptoms during the first year handful of years after birth. The most common one is involves babies with this health condition not gaining weight, or growing abnormally. In addition, they start exhibiting certain other physical abnormalities with time. Some of the notable ones are listed below.
- A head that is disproportionately large for the body
- Small lower jaw
- Large or protruding eyes
- Partial closure of the eyelids
- Beaked nose and thin lips
- Hair loss, including from the eyebrows and eyelashes
- High pitched voice
- Spotty and wrinkled skin
- Visible veins
- Abnormal and slow tooth growth
- Ears that stand out
- Loss of body muscles and fat
Apart from this, children suffering from Progeria tend to showcase most of the health issues which can typically be seen in the elderly. Those include severe cardiovascular disease, tightening and hardening of skin as well as arteries, hearing loss, skeletal abnormalities, hip dislocation, stiff joints, insulin resistance, etc. However, this health condition will not affect the mental growth of a child. Sufferers are not likelier to get affected by various infections when compared to other kids.