Rare diseases you won't believe existed

Water allergy, walking corpse syndrome, foreign accent syndrome are examples of some incredibly rare diseases that confound the best diagnosticians.

Myupchar September 16, 2019 13:35:10 IST
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Rare diseases you won't believe existed
  • Patients suffering from water allergy or aquagenic urticaria develop hives as soon as their skin comes in contact with water

  • Walking corpse syndrome is a condition in which the patient erroneously believes that one of their body parts does not exist or is dead

  • People with foreign accent syndrome do not lose their memory after a head injury, but they do develop a new accent overnight

Times are changing, and diseases are changing with them. Even as new diseases come to light, old diseases that we thought had been wiped out by vaccine raise their ugly heads again. And some diseases, well, they defy belief and confound the best diagnosticians. Consider these rarest of rare diseases:

Rare diseases you wont believe existed

Representational image. Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Water allergy

More than 70% of our body is made of water. Still, patients suffering from water allergy or aquagenic urticaria develop hives as soon as their skin comes in contact with water - even if the water is icy cold.

People living with water allergy can be more afraid of crying than getting hurt because the flowing tears can also give them hives.

Rashes or hives mostly develop on the upper body and they disappear within 30-60 minutes after removing the water from the patient’s body.

This rarest of rare diseases affect women more than men. Symptoms usually become apparent with the onset of puberty.

The underlying cause of this condition is still unknown, but some doctors believe that it can be attributed to an allergen in the water rather than the water itself.

Fortunately, water allergy is treatable.

Walking corpse syndrome

Cotard’s delusion, famously known as walking corpse syndrome, is a condition in which the patient erroneously believes that one of their body parts does not exist or is dead. The part could be their hand, a toe, their brain, or even their soul.

Patients can feel that they are dead or rotting away, and therefore worthless. Hallucinations, anxiety, hypochondria or suicidal thoughts are all common symptoms of  Cotard’s delusion.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most common treatment for walking corpse syndrome. However, the treatment can vary with other symptoms.

Foreign accent syndrome

We’ve all seen movies where a character gets hit on the head and suddenly loses his or her memory. People with foreign accent syndrome don’t lose their memory after a head injury, but they do develop a new accent overnight.

This sudden change in pitch and cadence can be confusing for the patient’s loved ones, though the patient remains intelligible. Researchers have related the following accent changes to foreign accent syndrome:

  • Japanese to Korean
  • British English to French
  • American English to British English
  • Spanish to Hungarian

Having a rare disease can be a nightmare. There is seldom enough research and awareness to get a timely diagnosis. In August, online streaming service Netflix launched a new series Diagnosis to help patients with rare conditions by crowdsourcing information from around the world.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. To read more articles on every kind of medical condition, please visit https://www.myupchar.com/en/disease

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