Friday, February 05, 2010

13-Year-Old With Lipodystrophy Looks Middle-Aged

At the age of 13, Zara Hartshorn already looks 50. Hartshorn, who is from Rotherham, England, suffers from a rare genetic disease known as lipodystrophy. The disease causes the supporting fatty tissue under the skin to crumble even while the skin continues to grow, often at an alarming rate.

Only around 2,000 people in the world are said to have the condition, and there is currently no known cure. The effects of the disease have caused Hartshorn a great deal of hardship and discomfort.

Sadly, lipodystrophy is a family affair for the Hartshorns: Zara’s mother, Tracey, suffers from the same genetic disorder, as do two of Zara’s siblings. But the affects of lipodystrophy are especially pronounced in Zara; at 13, she looks older than her 21-year-old sister Jolene and 16-year-old brother Tommy, though both also have the disease. For details read full NBC article.

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