Progeria is a rare genetic disorder and as a consequence, children who are born with this age rapidly. Progeria is also called Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS). The symptoms start by the age of two and usually these children do not live long. Their life ends when they get to puberty but there are some cases where the child reached twenty years of age. The cure for this disorder does not exist but there are treatments that can help the children have a better life.
The symptoms appear very early, when a child is just one or two years old. The children with progeria grow very slowly, height and weight is beneath the average, the face is narrow, the nose is pinched (because of these two syndromes the child seems old), total hair loss (including eyebrows and eyelashes), the eyes appear bigger, the head is larger, jaw is smaller, the skin is loose, the joints are stiffed, the voice is high pitched and the feet are deformed.
The cause for this condition is a mutation of the gene lamin A (LMNA) which is necessary for making a protein that holds the nucleus (the center of cell) together. Progeria is not an inherited mutation and it is believed that the gene mutation occurs on the sperm before conception.
The cure for progeria does not exist. However, the right treatment can relieve some syndromes. Constant observation of cardiovascular condition can help to delay the progression of heart diseases. The child should be given a small dosage of Aspirin every day to put off stroke and heart attack. Physical therapy can reduce stiffness of the joints and this may help the child to be more active in life. The child should eat nutritious food with high calories in order to gain weight. The permanent teeth start to grow before the primary have fallen out, so it is recommended for the primary teeth to be taken out to prevent the further complications.Learning that their child suffers from progeria is extremely hard and emotional for the parents. It is important that they ask for support from family, friends and professionals. An adequate support group therapy can also be particularly helpful and in some cases, it is good to speak to the priest. Since the child's mental condition is normal, he/she will eventually become aware of the condition. It is crucial for the parents to remain honest with their child and help him/her to cope with the situation every day.