Sunday, June 10, 2012

Name that Disease #23

Can you name this disease?

Image is from Wikimedia Commons and is copyright free



This young man, Fedor Jeftichew, was a sideshow performer who had hypertrichosis, more commonly known as werewolf syndrome. It is usually genetic and, unlike some other forms of excessive hair growth that it can be mistaken for, is not associated with the androgens (male sex hormones). It can occur in anybody, no matter their sex, race, or age. There are a number of different forms of hypertrichosis, which vary in hair placement and quantity, as well as how long the hair will last. There is also variation in what other symptoms will also be present. For example, many with hypertrichosis are normal except for their hair, but others may express abnormalities in their growth, tooth development, and even mental retardation.

Though in the past it was common to find people with hypertrichosis in circus sideshows or "freak shows," this is generally no longer considered a socially acceptable job choice in many areas. However, it doesn't change the fact that having hair covering your entire face can make it very difficult to fit into society. This is true of basically any condition that make you look different from what is considered "normal." Due to how problematic this is, most people who have hypertrichosis will try to find some way to look more "normal."

How is this disease treated? Those who do seek treatment will undergo hair removal processes. Some will shave, while other will go for surgical solutions. Depending on the texture and quantity of the hair, different procedures will be more effective than others. No other treatment is known.

Sources are Hypertrichosis.com, Ashland University Wiki, University of Mississippi, and the Daily Mail.

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