24 of the Strangest Diseases You’ve Ever Seen

[via amog]

Have you ever been dissatisfied with your life or perhaps have complained because of a disability condition that prevents you from doing things you’d like to do?

Just be glad that you don’t have any of the rare conditions on this list. If you’re interested in weird phenomenon, take a look at this list of top 24 strange diseases.

24. Moebius Syndrome

Simply put, Moebius Syndrome is a condition that causes facial paralysis. It forms at birth and is also thought to be some sort of genetic disorder. Existent in only 2 to 30 people out of every 1 million, Moebius Syndrome affects the person’s ability to follow objects with his or her eyes, and show facial expressions. People with this disorder are also unable to close their eyes and are normally cross eyed.

People with this disease can live a normal life with no major medical issues caused by this disease. However, they will most likely have social issues since they can’t show emotion through their facial expression. It cold also be said that they’re limited in the occupations that they choose as customer service opportunities wouldn’t be a good fit as the public could mistake their intentions and feel that they are disinterested.

Examples of Moebius Syndrome: Take a look at the old school cartoon character Droopy Dog (1943 - 1958). Does Droopy suffer from Moebius Syndrome? Could be!

fibrodysplasia Time to Call the Doctor: 24 of the Strangest Diseases Youve Ever Seen

23. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva

Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), present in approximately 1 million people, is a genetic disorder in which muscle tissue, ligaments, and tendons are gradually replaced with bone. Over time this can cause serious issues with mobility, speaking, and even eating. Some people with the disease suffer from malnutrition due to their difficulties with eating. This disease can also affect the person’s breathing as there can be extra bone that forms around the rib cage.

The disease tends to progress further with injuries. So a person with this disease should be careful on stairs and avoid such activities such as football, skate boarding and rough sex. Whew! Aren’t you glad this is a rare disease?

22. True Hermaphroditism

True hermaphroditism is a disease in which a person is born with both male and female reproductive organs. Though this may sound like a novelty as you can imagine that with this disease one would not ever have to or want to date, the disease is really a burden and quite serious. Hermaphrodites are usually born with smaller and not completely formed genitals and reproductive organs. Now it doesn’t sound as appealing, does it?

In earlier years, doctors and parents would guess at which gender the child should be raised which would be very confusing to the child and often times the opposite gender was dominant in the child. Nowadays, they do DNA testing to determine which gender is dominant in the child; however, it doesn’t really take away the feelings of confusion and embarrassment for the individual.

21. Jumping Frenchman of Maine Disorder

The Jumping Frenchman of Maine Disorder is a disease that affects the neurological center. A person with this condition will overreact or have an exaggerated reaction when startled. If a person without the disorder were to jump a little from something that startled them, someone with this disorder may jump so that it’s more visible, flail their arms, and/or shout out loud. Another side effect of this disorder is that when startled, the person will obey a command when given. For instance if you were standing on a cliff with a person with this disorder and you unexpectedly yelled, “JUMP OFF THE CLIFF” they would most likely comply.

Though these people may seem fun at parties, this disorder must be a horrible burden to someone who has it since it’s quite possible that they are tormented by others. So, if you feel you have this disorder, stop reading now so you don’t get startled - BOO!

20. Cutaneous Porphyria (Vampire Disease)

Cutaneous Porphyria is also often referred to as the “Vampire Disease”. It’s actually a deficiency of enzymes in the body. The main symptom and inconvenience with this disease is that when the person is exposed to sunlight, they develop horrible, itchy blisters and welts. So, from that you can figure out why this condition is nicknamed “Vampire Disease”; these people must stay out of the sunlight.

poteus Time to Call the Doctor: 24 of the Strangest Diseases Youve Ever Seen

19. Proteus Syndrome

This is a disease where there is unusual bone growth of the skin and head causing the individual with the disease to look deformed. The syndrome often precedes tumors all over the person’s body. This is a very rare condition and there are currently just a little over 100 cases currently worldwide.

An individual with the disease will most likely experience other health issues due to this disorder. The individual’s head will be growing at an accelerated rate, which could cause health issues. Other health issues may include pulmonary problems due to the malformation of blood vessels.

An example of this disease was depicted in the movie “Mask” (1985) with Cher and starring Eric Stoltz as Rocky Dennis (the boy with the disease).

18. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain

Imagine that you’re using a knife in the kitchen and all of a sudden you cut yourself. It breaks the skin and in fact, the cut is rather deep. The problem is that you don’t feel the pain. This is what congenital insensitivity to pain is all about. It’s a rare disorder, but it does exist. Its cause is that there are too many endorphins being released to the brain at one time.

You may ask yourself what the problem is. There are times that we would give anything not to feel any pain. However, consider the consequences of this. If you didn’t feel any pain, you may not notice that you’re cutting your finger. There’s no reaction to pull away, so you could quite possibly cut off your finger. You could experience third degree burns and broken bones without even knowing that anything’s wrong. Essentially people with congenital insensitivity to pain are at risk for seriously damaging their body. The up side to this is that a kid with this disorder doesn’t have to worry about losing many fights!

17. Cotard’s Syndrome (Often called Walking Corpse Syndrome)

Cotard’s syndrome, named after the neurologist that discovered the disorder in one of his patients is a rare mental disorder in which a person thinks that they’re dead or that they don’t have a soul. Often nicknamed “walking corpse syndrome”, this disorder is believed to be linked to other psychological disorders such as schizophrenia. This is actually dangerous to one’s health because in some cases, the people have been known to starve themselves because they think they’re dead and don’t have to eat. In one particular case, a man was starving himself because he believed that he didn’t have a stomach.

16. Capgras Syndrome

Can you imagine waking up one morning next to your spouse to discover that they’re not your spouse at all, but rather an imposter? People who suffer from Capgras Syndrome would know exactly how that feels. This is a mental disorder where the individual is under the delusion that a person, normally someone close to them such as a close family member or spouse has been replaced by an identical looking imposter. Though it would be almost too easy to torment someone with this condition for your own amusement, it’s a serious disorder that could potentially be dangerous. If the person feels threatened by the so called “imposter”, he or she could potentially kill them out of what they believe would be self defense.

15. Blaschko’s Lines

Blaschko’s lines is a very rare condition in which an individual develops marks on their skin resembling stripes. Generally, the person will exhibit “V” shapes on his or her back and spine area and “S” shaped swirls on his or her stomach or back. This is not just a disease that people get, but there have also been know occurrences in cats and dogs.

14. Trichotillomania

Have you ever been so stressed, angry, or upset that you’ve threatened or joked about pulling your hair out? This is actually a real mental disorder that about 1% of the population has and it’s called Trichotillomania. This disorder is where an individual has the urge to pull out his or her hair; not just on his or her head, but all hair! The person can have the urge to pull out scalp hair, facial hair, nose hair, eyebrows and eyelash hair, and even pubic hair.

This disorder usually shows up in teens due to stress, confusion, and pressures that teens face. However, there have been reports of such from children as young as one year old.

13. Jerusalem Syndrome

Whenever you go on vacation and go site seeing with the rest of the tourists, you expect to have a relatively good time and you also expect to come back just as sane as you left. However, there have been quite a few cases where people have visited the Jerusalem and lost their minds! Jerusalem syndrome is an occurrence where a person visits Jerusalem and has religious delusions or psychotic events. Most times when this happens, the individual returns to the same mental state as before once he or she leaves the city. However, there have been some cases where the person has stayed in this state of psychosis.

12. Genital Retraction Syndrome

Just the name of this disorder is enough to make you wince, isn’t it? Don’t worry; no one’s genitals are retracting. Genital retraction syndrome is a mental disorder in which an individual (mainly men) thinks that their penis (or breasts for women) is shrinking and in some cases think that it has completely disappeared. Hence, this disorder is also sometimes called “penis panic”.

What I find ironic is that name of the disorder indicates that the penis is shrinking or retracting back into the body. If you have this disorder and you really feel that this is the case, your fears are only confirmed when you hear what the name of your disorder is.

blueskin Time to Call the Doctor: 24 of the Strangest Diseases Youve Ever Seen

11. Blue Skin Disorder

Do you remember watching “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) when you were younger? Do you remember the little girl whose skin turned blue because she was turning into a blueberry (Violet Beauregarde played by Denise Nickerson)? There is a real disease out there in which the skin really does turn blue. Blue Skin Syndrome is a very rare disease and is caused by an abnormality in the hemoglobin.

10. Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS)

In the movie “Evil Dead II” (1987), we watch Ash fight his own hand because his hand is trying to kill him. There is actually a real disease where the individual’s dominant hand will seem to take on a mind of its own. Though it’s highly unlikely that this rogue hand would try to injure or kill someone, it’s very possible that it could stroke or grope an object or another person. The individual with AHS has no idea that this is going on with their hand until they see it with their own eyes or it’s brought to their attention. This type of neurological condition can occur after brain surgery or in stroke patients.

9. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS)

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is a rare condition is which objects are distorted in size. If you recall the Walt Disney movie “Alice in Wonderland” (1951) Alice would get really large and then would shrink in size. A person with this disorder doesn’t get the sensation that they’re getting larger or smaller, but rather the object around them are changing size, and in some cases shape.

8. Aquagenic Urticaria

As you may suspect because of the prefix “aqua”, aquagenic urticaria is an allergy to water. This a very rare condition in which a person gets itchy hives, and in severe cases, painful welts when coming in contact with water. Could you imagine even taking a shower would be uncomfortable or even painful for you?

7. Pica

Do you remember the child in elementary school that would always eat the paste? It’s possible that he or she had an eating disorder called pica. It’s prominent in about 25% of all children and is a disorder where a child craves non-food items such as glue or paste, dirt, clay, laundry starch, cigarette butts, dirt, clay, laundry starch, feces, and toothpaste.

It must be an adventure for other children around them. Can you imagine what other kids will try to make them eat? It kind of turns your stomach doesn’t it?

6. Trimethylaminuria

Often called “fish odor syndrome” or “fish malodor syndrome”, trimethylaminuria is a metabolic disorder which makes an individual’s breath, urine, and perspiration have a strong fish odor. Caused by an enzyme deficiency, these people are often not popular among humans, but have a great following with the feline population.

progeria Time to Call the Doctor: 24 of the Strangest Diseases Youve Ever Seen

5. Progeria

Progeria is an extremely rare genetic condition that only happens in one out of every 8 million births. Often called the rapid aging disease, children with progeria have an average life span of only 13 years old though there have been a few rare cases of people surviving into their late teens and early twenties. If you’re familiar with the disease, you’ll notice that all children with it have similar physical characteristics.

4. Elephantiasis

Elephantiasis is a disorder where there is a severe thickening in the skin that normally occurs in the limbs (particularly the legs) and genitals. An affected man’s scrotum can be enlarge up to the size of a basketball. So, you could quite literally say that he has “great big ones”. This disease is caused by parasitic worms and transmitted by mosquitoes. Most cases of elephantiasis are found in Africa.

3. Parasitic Twin

A parasitic twin is similar to a Siamese or conjoined twin, but with a major difference. The cause is the same in that the twins never fully separated. The difference is that a parasitic twin is completely dependent on survival from the other twin. The parasitic twin may appear as an additional leg, for example. Is this what they mean with statistics that show that the average family has 2.5 kids?

2. Hypertrichosis

Hypertrichosis is a very hairy situation. Also called the “werewolf syndrome”, this is a rare disorder where an individual has hair all over his or her body. This is so rare that there have only been about 50 cases verified in history.

Just remember this disorder when you complain about shaving your face every morning. Could you imagine going in for a wax? Ouch!

fasciitis Time to Call the Doctor: 24 of the Strangest Diseases Youve Ever Seen

1. Necrotizing Fasciitis

Often called “flesh eating bacteria” or “flesh eating disease”, necrotizing fasciitis is a rare infection of the deep layers of skin on a person’s body. Actually, the term “flesh eating” is very misleading because the bacteria doesn’t actually eat the flesh but instead deteriorates the flesh.

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