The Weirdest Diseases We Hope You Never Have To Live Through

A Disease That Turns You Into A Vampire What could Vincent Van Gogh and King George III of England have in common? Both men had crazy… Trista - February 14, 2023
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A Disease That Turns You Into A Vampire

What could Vincent Van Gogh and King George III of England have in common? Both men had crazy mood swings that some theorize resulted from porphyria, a rare disease that causes the body to fail to produce heme. Heme is a protein that helps cells carry oxygen, and without it, substances called porphyrins build up in the liver, turning urine and feces purple. Symptoms include abdominal pain, chest pain, vomiting, confusion, and high heart rate, which can last weeks. Porphyria can even lead to seizures! Most of the time, porphyria passes from a parent, but one type comes from hep C, alcohol, and HIV/AIDS. Doctors make a diagnosis with blood, urine, and stool testing. However, they can also do genetic testing to determine the specific mutation. We’re not sure of the precise prevalence of porphyria, but it is estimated to affect between 1 and 100 per 50,000 people. Porphyria treatment varies but sometimes involves a liver transplant. A diet rich in carbs or medication can help. Some people with porphyria have so much pain that they have to use opiates while having so much nausea that they have to medicate with phenothiazine.


Alice in Wonderland Syndrome Is A Disease Like No Other

People with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, or AIWS, don’t have to eat a magic cake or drink a potion to feel themselves rapidly shrinking and growing. AIWS disrupts their body image and perception of the things around them, making them feel bigger or smaller than they actually are. It might sound like a hallucination, but the problem occurs within the brain and affects the senses. People with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome might also lose their sense of time. Time may seem to pass very slowly, similar to an LSD experience. The lack of time and space perspective can also leave a person feeling like they are moving in slow motion or uncontrollably moving or walking. Sometimes the feelings only last a few minutes, but others experience chronic symptoms. Research has linked Alice in Wonderland Syndrome to migraines.

ABC News / Reuters

A Tragic Disease That That Turns Your Body Into A Tree

Also known as treeman syndrome, Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis (EV) is an extremely rare hereditary skin disorder. Patients grow bark-like warts on their hands and feet and are susceptible to HPV infections. Symptoms usually start between 1 and 20 but sometimes begin in middle age. Cases have been documented in the media for decades, leaving people in awe. Dede Koswara appeared on the Discovery Channel and TLC in 2007 and 2008. He returned home following surgery to remove 13 lbs (6 kg) of warts from his hands, head, torso, and feet. They covered his hands with grafted skin. However, his warts returned, and he was said to require two surgeries a year for the rest of his life to manage warts.

ABC News

This Disease Turns You Blue… Literally

Blue skin is actually due to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia. In patients with methemoglobinemia, the body overproduces the form of hemoglobin called methemoglobin. Instead of the typical 1% methemoglobin, those with this disease can have up to 20%. Because their hemoglobin cannot distribute oxygen in the body, their skin turns blue, their lips turn purple, and their blood turns chocolate brown. Other symptoms include headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, poor coordination, seizures, and arrhythmias. People can inherit this condition, but it comes from exposure to chemicals and drugs like benzocaine, lidocaine, nitrates, or dapsone. Babies under six months have lower levels of a critical methemoglobin-reducing enzyme, so they are at significant risk for developing this disease. Doctors make the diagnosis via arterial blood gas and CO-oximetry panels. You can treat methemoglobinemia with supplemental oxygen and methylene blue.

National Geographic

The Disease That Makes You Age At An Unbelievable Rate

Although they are born looking healthy, children as young as 1 or 2 years old with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome already show signs of aging, slow growth, and hair loss. Eventually, they will lose most of their body fat and get wrinkles, causing them to appear decades older than they actually are. A mutation in a gene causes HGPS. It produces a protein that holds the nucleus of a cell together. Children with progeria of different ethnic backgrounds somehow develop a remarkably similar appearance. People with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome experience severe hardening of the arteries beginning in childhood. This condition greatly increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke .

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The Disease That Won’t Let You Forget Anything

Over the years, details get fuzzy, and often only feelings or flashes of memory remain. But if you asked someone with hyperthymesia what they were doing eight years ago, they’d be able to tell you every detail about their day. This condition is very rare, and only about 61 people are known to have it worldwide as of 2021. While people with this condition do not have Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are certain similarities between the two states. However, hyperthymestic individuals generally have a poorer-than-average memory for arbitrary information. So while they can recall minute details about their own lives, people with hyperthymesia do not outperform their peers in school or work. Their autobiographical memories are intimately connected to time-space synesthesia. People with this condition often describe the non-stop, uncontrollable remembering as a nuisance. It is exhausting, and some find themselves getting lost in remembering.


This Disease Compels You To Pull Out Your Hair

People with trichotillomania (TTM) uncontrollably pull out their hair, especially when stressed, often leading to hair loss. Unfortunately, the bald patches on their head, eyebrows, and facial hair often add to their emotional stress, resulting in further pulling. This condition sometimes runs in families, but it commonly occurs in people with OCD. People with TTM usually acknowledge pulling their hair out, but others attempt to hide and cover up their condition. The pulling is usually confined to one or two areas. However, it can involve multiple sites throughout the body. Most commonly, they pull the hair around the eyes and face, with some pulling out hair from their arms, legs, underarms, chest, and pubic area. People with TTM generally remove hair one strand at a time, and these episodes can last for hours. Some experience more satisfaction after pulling an anagen phase hair with the gel-like inner root sheath still surrounding the base of the hair. TTM overlap with people who suffer from anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD, with some cases brought on by stress

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The Disease That Makes You Allergic To The Cold

By the end of winter, most people feel as though they can’t bare the cold anymore. But that is actually true for people with Familial Cold Autoinflammatory Syndrome (FCAS). It is a rare condition, inherited through genetics, that causes people to have allergy-like responses to a drop in temperature. Several symptoms, including rashes, joint pain, fatigue, blurred vision, and nausea, occur within a couple of hours of cold exposure. The rashes are generally itchy, and hives can result. They estimate that about 1 per 1 million people live with FCAS. For some reason, the condition mostly occurs in Americans and Europeans. The effects of FCAS can alter a person’s life forever. A survey of US patients found that many had to limit their work, school, family, and social activities. 78% of participants described the disease’s impact on their work, including absenteeism and inability to advance. Many even had to quit their job to manage their condition.

The Sleep Foundation.

The Disease That Makes You Hear Explosions As You Fall Asleep

People with Exploding Head Syndrome claim to hear extremely loud sounds, like gunshots or marching band drums, as they fall asleep or wake up when no real sounds are happening around them. The noise can be frightening, but it is not a serious health concern. Around 10% of people with EHS also have visual disturbances like seeing static, lightning, or flashes of light. Others experience heat or electric tinglings that ascend to the head before the auditory hallucinations occur. The patterns vary, with some reporting they have a total of 2-4 attacks and then never experience it again. Still, others have attacked for a lifetime over days, weeks, or months. The cause of EHS is unknown. However, researchers theorize that it links to the part of our brain responsible for transitioning between wake and sleep. There is much room for research to be done on this disease. Many doctors believe most patients never seek medical treatment for the condition, so it goes unrecognized.

American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The Disease That Makes Your Hands And Feet Feel Like They’re Burning

Fabry disease is a rare genetic disorder caused by a deficiency of the alpha-galactosidase A enzyme, leading to the buildup of a fatty substance called Gb3 in the body’s cells. This buildup can cause a variety of symptoms, such as pain and burning sensations in the hands and feet, skin rashes and lesions, gastrointestinal issues, eye abnormalities, kidney dysfunction, and heart problems. The disease is primarily inherited in an X-linked pattern and affects males more than females, with symptoms typically appearing in childhood or adolescence and progressing over time. Treatment may include enzyme replacement therapy and other supportive measures to manage symptoms and prevent complications.

The Daily Mail.

The Disease That Prevents You From Feeling Physical Pain

Congenital analgesia is a rare condition in which a person is born without the ability to feel physical pain. This can be caused by genetic mutations that affect the functioning of the nervous system, including the pathways responsible for processing pain signals. People with congenital analgesia are unable to perceive any type of physical pain, including pain caused by injury, inflammation, or illness. While this may sound like a desirable condition, it can actually be quite dangerous, as the ability to feel pain is an important protective mechanism that helps prevent injury and illness. People with congenital analgesia are at risk of sustaining injuries or developing illnesses that they may not be aware of, as they do not experience the pain that would normally alert them to seek medical attention. As a result, they may have a shorter lifespan and a higher risk of complications from injuries and illnesses.

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