Heart disease: The disorder you may not notice until later in life – Marfan syndrome

Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk

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The condition is a form of inherited heart disease where the connective tissues in the heart and blood vessels are affected. As such, people who have Marfan syndrome are more prone to aneurysms. Aneurysms are “weak spots” in blood vessels that can bulge or burst, experts at Aurora Health Care explained. While the condition can cause “hardly noticeable” symptoms, there are “distinctive features” a person may have.

These include being tall and having a thin build, alongside long arms, legs, fingers and toes.

There may be a chest that sinks in or sticks out, or a spine that curves to one side (i.e. scoliosis).

A person with Marfan syndrome could have crowded teeth, flat feet, flexible joints, and stretch marks unrelated to weight gain or loss.

The NHS listed the areas most likely to have stretch marks when you have Marfan syndrome:

  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Lower back.

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Complications of the disease include heart failure, a collapsed lung, and a detached retina (eye).

The NHS said that some people may only be mildly affected by Marfan syndrome while others suffer greatly.

“Diagnosing Marfan syndrome can be difficult as the symptoms can vary significantly from person to person,” the NHS noted.

In 99 percent of cases, however, the condition can be determined by a genetic test.

The condition is considered rare in the UK, affecting one in 5,000 people.

Meanwhile, one of the most common complications of the genetic condition is lens dislocation.

“This is where the eye’s lens, the transparent structure that sits behind the pupil and focuses light, falls into an abnormal position,” the NHS explained.

“If your GP thinks you may have Marfan syndrome, you’ll be referred to a specialist for testing.”

Heart conditions

Coronary heart disease is when the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked.

This condition typically develops when you lead an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking, eating a fatty diet, and not exercising.

This can lead to angina (chest pain), which may be accompanied with discomfort in the arm, neck, stomach or jaw.

If you are experiencing any type of undiagnosed chest pain, do book an appointment with your doctor.

Another heart issue is arrhythmia, which is when the heart’s electrical system is interrupted or disturbed, causing the heart to beat irregularly.

Valve disease, on the other hand, can lead to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen ankles
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain (angina or palpitations)
  • Dizziness or fainting.

If any point you suspect you have an undiagnosed heart condition, it’s best to seek medical advice.

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