A 21-year-old man identified as Rupesh Kumar, from Hanumanganj, India, has been described as the world oldest man after he was stuck in the body of a 160-year-old man as he is ageing eight times faster than normal due to a rare ageing disease.
According to a report by Dailymail, the condition, known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria, which affects just one in eight million people.
WHAT IS PROGERIA? – Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is a rare, fatal genetic condition characterised by an appearance of accelerated ageing in children. It is caused by a mutation in a gene called LMNA.
LMNA produces a protein that holds cells together. Cellular instability appears to cause premature aging. Sufferers typically show symptoms at around 18-24 months old.
These include growth failure, loss of body fat and hair, aged-looking skin, joint stiffness and hip dislocation, as patients usually die of heart disease at around 14 years old.
While speaking to a correspondent, the young man’s father, Ramapati Kumar, a farm labourer, said: ‘It all started with frequent headaches and stomach pains when he was very small.
‘We took him to several doctors, but none of them could diagnose his condition. They prescribe a few painkillers and ask us to go home.’
As Rupesh grew, his parents noticed abnormal changes in his body and appearance. His father said: ‘Over time, my son’s head grew abnormally big and he started shedding weight drastically.’
Few years ago, some people came to their village under the pretence of helping Rupesh. His father said: ‘I thought they were good people who wanted to help with the treatment of my son.
‘But I was shocked when they said that they wanted to buy my son and exhibit him as a spectacle in a circus.
‘They offered to pay us Rs 300,000 [approximately £3,600]. I politely told them to go away. That I would never give my child away even if they had offered Rs 10,000,000 [approximately £121,000].’
His parents Ramapati Kumar, 45, and Shanti Devi, refused to let their son be taken to a circus.
Unfortunately, Hutchinson-Gilford progeria is incurable, yet Rupesh has defied expectations by living into his twenties.
His doctor, Dr Yugantar Pandey, said: ‘He is suffering from progeria and there is no cure of this disease so far.
‘Most people suffering from progeria die by the time they reach 13-15, but in some cases, like the case of Rupesh, they live up till 21. The symptoms of progeria was first seen in Rupesh at the age of two.
‘It was because of this condition that growth stopped, hairs started falling off, skin started sagging and teeth weakened.’
Most sufferers die at around 14, but Kumar is defying expectations despite his symptoms
He said: ‘The patient’s muscles also loose the strength. Like in other cases of progeria, Rupesh’s eyes have sunk into his sockets and skin has become pale. This is a genetic problem that occurs due to mutation of genes.’
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