Progeria literally means ‘accelerated aging’. Children have this disease. Children with progeria often have heart and lung problems and have difficulty walking. The symptoms that often occur in the elderly now occur in these children due to the disease progeria.
Progeria literally means ‘accelerated aging’, because this is exactly what the disease does. It makes you age faster.
Progeria is a rare but serious disease. Children who suffer from this disease notice that they are increasingly deteriorating and realize this. They have a good mind and see that other teenagers can do much more than what they can do themselves. They also want to be ‘normal’ and feel inferior. Progeria is an incurable disease, it does not get better and it keeps getting worse. Aging symptoms occur that normally only occur in older people. Medicines can slow it down somewhat, but there are no medicines (yet) that can completely cure the disease.
It is estimated that progeria occurs in approximately 1 in 8 million births. There are currently only about 45 children worldwide who suffer from this disease. Children with progeria grow approximately 8 to 10 years older each calendar year. This of course also entails physical complaints, such as difficulty walking, heart problems, and breathing problems. The mind develops normally, the children can also go to school and know just as much as a normal child. That often makes the disease even more tragic, because they see that other children are ‘normal’ and look normal.
The average life expectancy of a child with progeria is only 13 years. Progeria children therefore never reach puberty, and they therefore do not develop sex hormones. Unfortunately, there are not many doctors who know this disease well and can do something with it. There are medications that can slow the disease process and reduce aging, but unfortunately the disease cannot be cured.
Characteristics of progeria
You can quickly recognize the characteristics of someone with progeria. When the baby is 1 year old, it is already noticeable that the head is much larger in relation to the body. The body grows very slowly, which is why the head is often much larger than the body itself.
Children with progeria mainly have a large head, and are themselves very small, because the growth of the body is retarded. Most children with progeria are about 3 feet tall and weigh about 30 pounds. Very clear symptoms are that they have wrinkled, thin skin, and often the blood vessels are also clearly visible. The skin along the mouth and nose may be somewhat blue. They often have no hair, no eyelashes and no eyebrows, they have a pointed nose, round eyes and protruding ears.
But we don’t only see differences in appearance, these children also have physical problems. Their joints become stiff early on, they can develop osteoarthritis, a cerebral infarction, and strokes.
Is progeria hereditary?
Progeria is not hereditary. Almost always, someone with progeria is the first and only one in the family with this condition. It’s a rare genetic change, it seems to happen for no reason. Progeria is also a very rare disease. In all of Europe there are only 10 known cases of this disease, and worldwide there are approximately 45 children affected by this disease.