What Are Symptoms and Effects of Marfan Syndrome?

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What is the definition of Marfan syndrome?

According to the free dictionary, Marfan syndrome is an inherited disorder of the connective tissue that causes abnormalities of the patient's eyes, cardiovascular system, and musculoskeletal system. It is named for the French pediatrician, Antoine Marfan (1858–1942), who first described it in 1896. Marfan syndrome is sometimes called arachnodactyly, which means "spider-like fingers" in Greek, since one of the characteristic signs of the disease is disproportionately long fingers and toes. It is estimated that one person in every 3000-5000 has Marfan syndrome, or about 50,000 people in the United States. Marfan syndrome is one of the more common inheritable disorders.

What are symptoms of Marfan syndrome?

People diagnosed with Marfan syndrome can be affected in many parts of the body, including the skeleton, eyes, and heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular system). Although symptoms and physical traits can vary widely, the majority are on the mild side and tend to worsen as a person aging. Here are common symptoms and physical traits of Marfan syndrome:
  • Having a tall, slender build
  • Long arms, legs and fingers that are disproportionate to the rest of the body
  • A high, arched palate
  • Curved spine, or scoliosis
  • Damaged eyesight like extreme nearsightedness
  • Flat feet
  • Heart murmurs, or unusual sounds heard between heartbeats
  • Crowded teeth
  • Impact of blood vessels
  • Health of the lungs
  • Chest deformations
  • Unsightly stretch marks on the lower backs, buttocks, shoulders, breasts, thighs and abdomen
  • Uneven breathing while sleeping
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Dural ectasia 

Are there other complications caused by Marfan syndrome?

In general, Marfan syndrome affects the connective tissues in the heart, eyes, bones, lungs and the membrane covering the spinal cord. But you may develop complications that arises directly to the disease in the following areas:
  • Eyes
  • Nervous system
  • Spine
  • Heart
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