Progeria: Children ailment that causes body to age faster
Progeria, also known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), is a rare genetic condition that causes a child’s body to age fast. Most kids with progeria do not live past the age of 13. The disease affects both sexes and all races equally. It affects about 1 in every 4 million births worldwide.
A single mistake in a certain gene causes it to make an abnormal protein. When cells use this protein, called progerin, they break down more easily. Progerin builds up in many cells of kids with progeria, causing them to grow old quickly.
Progeria is not inherited, or passed down in families.
Most kids with progeria look healthy when they’re born, but they start to show signs of the disease during their first year. Babies with progeria do not grow or gain weight normally. They develop physical traits including:A bigger head, large eyes,
small lower jaw, ears that stick out, veins you can see, slow and abnormal tooth growth, high-pitched voice, loss of body fat and muscle, hair loss, including eyelashes and eyebrows.
As children with progeria get older, they get diseases you’d expect to see in people age 50 and older, including bone loss, hardening of the arteries, and heart disease. Children with progeria usually die of heart attacks or strokes.
Progeria doesn’t affect a child’s intelligence or brain development at all. A child with the condition isn’t any more likely to get infections than other kids, either.
At this time, there’s no cure for progeria, but researchers are working on finding one. A kind of cancer drug, FTIs (farnesyltransferase inhibitors), may fix the damaged cells.
Treatments usually help ease or delay some of the disease’s Medication. Your child’s doctor may prescribe drugs to lower cholesterol or prevent blood clots. A low dose of aspirin every day can help prevent heart attacks and stroke. Growth hormone can help build height and weight.
Physical and occupational therapy can help your child keep moving if they have stiff joints or hip problems.
Surgery. Some children may have coronary bypass surgery or angioplasty to slow the progression of heart disease.
At home. Kids with progeria are more likely to get dehydrated, so they need to drink plenty of water, especially when they’re sick or it’s hot. Small meals more often can help them eat enough, too. Cushioned shoes or inserts can ease discomfort and encourage your child to play and stay active.