There are many unpleasant health conditions out there, in fact there are millions and there are more being discovered all the time. While we know about all the ‘big ones’ like cancer, colds, HIV, malaria, asthma etc, there are many many more you’ve probably never heard of. And some of these are actually quite remarkable and unusual. Here we will look at the top 10 strangest health conditions which are sometimes tragic and scary, but also a remarkable look at how complex the human body and biology in general really is.
Argyria is a highly rare condition and only known to exist in a few individuals. Paul Karason is one such person and as a result of his condition is now completely blue. The condition is permanent and can be brought about by consuming colloidal silver.
Elephantiasis is a condition that we are all familiar with thanks to the film ‘the Elephant Man’ based on a real life case of elephantiasis. Nevertheless many regard as one of the most unusual health conditions out there, and it can certainly be shocking to see. The most common form is lymphatic filariasis which causes the arms and legs to become swollen grossly out of proportion. This is more prevalent than you would think and affects 120 million people worldwide. The condition is spread by mosquito.
Stockholm syndrome is not a physical illness but a psychological condition. Here the individual has an unusual psychological response to being held hostage – in that they begin to feel sympathy, loyalty, friendship or sometimes even love with their hostage. Presumably an adaptive reaction, sufferers of Stockholm syndrome have been known to write letters to their former captors now in prison.
The symptoms are rapid heartbeat, dizziness and hallucinations, but what makes it unusual is the trigger: looking at particularly ‘beautiful’ art.
Progeria is caused by a mutation on a single gene that has incredible implications causing young children to age rapidly and take on the appearance of elderly pensioners while still growing. The prognosis for progeria is bad and most sufferers die around the age of 13. Fortunately it is a very rare condition that affects only 48 people in the world, five of whom are members of the same family.
Again caused by a single genetic mutation, ‘werewolf syndrome’ describes a condition in which people are covered across their entire face with thick hair.
Another unusual mental condition, Paris syndrome effects only Japanese tourists visiting Paris and causes them to have mental break downs. It is believed that this condition is a result of their high expectations of Paris not being met by the reality of the situation. The problem is more common than you might imagine and it the Japanese embassy in France has a 24 hotline for the condition and provides immediate hospitalization.
Pica is an unusual condition which causes people to eat non-nutritious substances such as dirt, paper, grout, grass, clay and more. In some cases this can be a dangerous psychological disorder, in others it is a sign of a vitamin or mineral deficiency. For instance many dogs show signs of pica and eat grout which is often a sign that their diet is low in calcium. In humans eating dirt might suggest a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is the body’s way of telling us what we need to eat and directing us to sources – even unusual ones.
Blaschko’s lines are a phenomenon in which individuals have white patterns across their whole body – a result of the pattern being built into their DNA. In many cases the patterns form a V shape over the spine and an S across the chest, stomach and sides.
In Cotard’s Delusion an individual feels detached from the world to the point where they either believe themselves to be dead, or they believe that everyone they know has been replaced by replicas or robots.