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Old 08-23-2010, 10:26 AM
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Default Top 10 Rarest Diseases

While we’ve all heard of diseases, seen someone with a disease, and had a disease personally, it’s unlikely that we’ve encountered a rare disease. In the non-medical world, people use and interchange disease to mean infection, sickness, illness, or something similar. In the medical world, a disease is an abnormal condition that impairs bodily functions and is often associated with certain signs and symptoms.
Also called an orphan disease, rare diseases are those that are extremely uncommon and often have such low prevalence that a common doctor would not run into more than one case of that disease over a course of years, if ever. Here is a list of 10 diseases that rarely affect people.
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10. Morgellons


Today, Morgellons stands as a very poorly understood disease that some doctors seem to believe if a chronic infectious disease. Sadly, the disease is usually disfiguring as well as disabling. The disease is classified by biting, itching, or crawling sensations, filaments that grow from the skin, and skin lesions, as well as memory loss, joint paint, and fatigue. Morgellons is still not recognized by the entire medical community, but there have been about 2,000 people within the U.S. who believe they suffer from the disease. Some of the reports are children, who are said to be unable to do normal things such as going to school or playing sports. There is no known cure or effective treatment for Morgellons.


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Old 08-23-2010, 10:27 AM
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9. Paraneoplastic pemphigus (PNP)


Though there are many forms of pemphigus, paraneoplastic pemphigus is the least common and most serious. PNP is a rare autoimmune bullous disease that causes blistering. Keratinocytes, which are what make up the epidemus, separate from each other, leaving gaps. Many times the gaps become filled with fluid peel off, leaving the skin raw and open to infection. These blisters usually appear in the mouth, throat, lips, and random places on the skin. The disease is also extremely fatal, as 90% of those diagnosed with the disease die due to sepsis, multi-organ failure, or cancer that caused the disease.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:27 AM
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8. Microcephaly


Microcephaly is a very rare condition that is noticeable immediately at birth, and sometimes even before. It affects 1 in every 666,666 in the U.S. With microcephaly, the brain is unable to develop properly, or in some cases ceases to grow at all, while the baby is still in the womb. This causes the head to be smaller than a normal infant’s head at birth. Many believe that the disease is caused by exposure to harmful substances while in the womb, exposure to radiation, or genetic problems. The disease is usually paired with Down’s syndrome. Those who have microcephaly are usually mentally retarded and will have issues with hyperactivity, dwarfism, seizures, balance issues, speech and motor problems, as well as others.
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7. Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL)


Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL) is said to affect one in 35,000 people. It is an extremely rare genetic condition that is characterized by the growth of tumors in different parts of the body. Many of the tumors will grow within the central nervous system and are often benign, but are made of blood vessels. Medically known as hemangioblastomas, these tumors can start to grow in the retina, the brain, and the spinal cord. Different tumors are also known to grow on the pancreas, adrenal glands, and kidneys. If left untreated, the disease can cause strokes, heart attacks, and cardiovascular disease.
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6. Kuru


As rare as it is, Kuru is one disease that is fatal. However, it is so rare that the disease is confined to an area in New Guinea, more specifically the Fore tribe that lives in the highlands. The disease came about as a result of cannibalism, which is a ritualistic practice in which the tissues of others, especially the brain, were cooked and consumed. Those affected with the disease usually become unable to eat or stand, and then about 6-12 months later die in a comatose state. It is said that about 1,100 people died from Kuru during the 1950s and 60s. Because of government intervention and a wide-spread effort to end cannibalism, Kuru has now mostly disappeared.
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