5. Living Statue Syndrome.
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) is one of the rarest and most painful diseases in the world. At the slightest knock or bruise your connective tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments can turn to bone and completely solidify. Doctors can’t even treat it because removing the new bone growth can cause the body to try to ‘repair’ itself by growing even more bone! Life expectancy for people with the condition is at 40 years old and there’s still so much confusion around the disease that people go years without being diagnosed, meaning they die even younger.
4. Cotard’s Delusion
Ever woken up after sleeping badly and felt like a zombie? Well people with Cotard’s Syndrome feel that way every day. This mental disorder causes people to believe they’re dead, rotting away slowly or don’t even exist. The delusion is usually found in people who already struggle with their mental health in other ways or who’ve had a serious brain injury and treatments include drugs and electric shocks to the brain. We know it’s rare, but we’re still scared.
Dystonia is a movement disorder where a person's muscles contract uncontrollably. The contraction causes the body to twist around on its own repeatedly and is actually pretty common. There can be light cases where eyelids just twitch on their own but serious dystonia can involve the whole body spasming briefly but regularly. Dystonia can be genetic, as a secondary result of something like a stroke or totally random with no explanation but the good news is after five years of progressively worsening symptoms the condition usually stabilises… great!
2. Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a type of sudden, severe facial pain that is usually described as like having an electric shock in the jaw, teeth or gums. Attacks occur randomly and can last for up to two minutes at a time with some sufferers having hundreds of attacks a day! There’s no way to explain exactly how painful trigeminal neuralgia really is, but it’s known to healthcare professionals as ‘the suicide disease’ because sufferers get hugely depressed and treatment is not always effective. The condition can start by a bout of random pressure inside the skull and be triggered by soft movements like washing your face but as it progresses it can be triggered by a slight breeze!
1. Ondine’s Curse
Ondine’s Curse, also known as Central hypoventilation syndrome (CHS) is a respiratory disorder that literally stops you from breathing when you sleep. Your brain forgets how to automatically use your lungs and forces you to focus and consciously breathe in and out all day... the obvious downside of this being what happens when you fall asleep. It’s extremely rare with only 1000 cases worldwide and can be genetic but can also develop after a serious accident or stroke. Most people with CHS die as children and long term management is still very difficult with so few diagnosed cases.