IT IS a hereditary disorder of the connective tissue that affects many body systems, including the skeleton, lungs, eyes, heart and blood vessels.
The condition, first described by Dr Antoine Marfan in 1896, can affect both men and women. It is estimated that one in 5,000 people in the United States have the disorder. Doctors say that that ratio applies here too.
What causes it?
It is caused by a defect in the gene that determines the structure of fibrillin, a connective tissue protein. The children of sufferers have a 50 per cent chance inheriting it.
What are the problems?
Some of the characteristics include irregular heart rhythm; curvature of the spine; abnormally-shaped chest; loose joints; disproportionately long limbs, fingers and toes; shortsightedness; and lens dislocation.
How is it diagnosed?
An accurate diagnosis can be done only after a complete examination that focuses on the various systems affected.
What are the treatments?
There is no cure yet but careful medical management can lengthen the lifespan of sufferers.