What are the Symptoms of Werner Syndrome?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 04, 2011

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  • Affected individuals may develop disorders of aging early in life.
  • Signs include includes graying and loss of hair.
  • A hoarse voice; and thin, hardened skin are other symptoms.
  • They may also have a facial appearance described as "bird-like."

Werner syndrome, also known as progeria, is a condition that causes premature ageing and puts the person at an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. It is a hereditary disease and the signs usually occur during the teenage years. The affected person does not have the usual growth that a typical teenager should have; they are shorter on average.

Being a genetic condition, Werner syndrome can passed from generation to generation in a family. The condition occurs when there is a change in the WRN gene. Not much is known about Werner syndrome and research is going on to dig out more information.

Symptoms of Werner Syndrome

As the disease progresses, affected individuals may develop disorders of ageing in early life such as:

  • Cataracts in both eyes (bilateral)
  • Skin changes associated with aging, including tight skin, pigments changes, and skin ulcers
  • Characteristic facial features, including wrinkling and loss of muscle tone, described as “bird like” due to loss of fat in underlying skin.
  • Short stature (height)
  • Early greying or thinning of the hair
  • Family history of Werner syndrome

Other features seen in Werner syndrome:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Decreased fertility
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer
  • Bone changes in the fingers and toes
  • Tissue changes
  • Early atherosclerosis (plaque build up in arteries)
  • Hoarse or high-pitched voice
  • Flat feet

International Registry of Werner Syndrome has proposed guidelines for the diagnosis of this disease. The process involves clinical and radiologic findings. Due to technological advancements, the doctors can now even track the mutations in the WRN gene.

Image Courtesy: Getty

Read more articles on Werner Syndrome.


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