Marfan syndrome, also called Marfan’s syndrome, MFS, or Marfan’s disease is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue in the body. People with this condition tend to be tall and have long, thin arms and legs. Their heart and other organs may also have problems. The severity of the syndrome can vary, but most of the time, it gets worse over time. Marfan syndrome has no cure, but some of its symptoms can be managed.
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In this post, we will discuss some natural remedies for Marfan Syndrome.
What Exactly Is Marfan Syndrome?
Marfan syndrome is a condition that affects the connective tissue in the skin, bones, eyes, blood vessels, and organs. It is a hereditary condition caused by a mutation in the fibrillin (FBN1) gene. Every 5,000 persons of any race, ethnicity, or gender are affected by the condition. In most situations, Marfan syndrome is handed down from parent to kid (inherited), but in one out of every four cases, the gene issue occurs spontaneously. This indicates that some people have no family history of the condition.
It is likely that there are even more persons with Marfan syndrome than previously estimated because many people may be unaware that they have the illness. According to the Marfan Foundation, up to half of all persons with the illness are unaware of it.
Signs & Symptoms of Marfan Syndrome
The symptoms of Marfan syndrome can range from being very mild to being very bad and even life-threatening. Most people who have the disorder get worse as they get older. Some common signs of Marfan syndrome are:
- Tall and skinny
- Arms and legs that are too long for their bodies
- Fingers and toes that are way too long
- The chest that is sunken or sticks out
- Tooth crowding
- Poor vision (nearsighted)
- Curved backbone (scoliosis)
- Feet that aren’t arched
- Problems with the heart, such as murmurs
- Stretch marks are not caused by weight gain or loss.
- Joints that are loose or don’t move well
- Sleep apnea can be caused by a high, narrow palate.
People with Marfan syndrome may also have deep-set eyes and a long, thin face. If eye problems aren’t treated, they can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, and loss of vision. Also, problems with the heart and major blood vessels can cause high blood pressure, even if it only goes up temporarily during sports or pregnancy. Leaks, backward flow, irregular heartbeats, and heart failure are all types of heart problems. The aorta, which takes blood away from the heart, can also have problems because of these problems. In some cases, the aorta gets bigger, breaks or tears, or lets blood flow backward. If this isn’t treated, it can kill you.
Causes and Risk Factors of Marfan Syndrome
The gene that makes fibrillin-1, a protein in connective tissue, can change in a way that leads to Marfan syndrome. When there is a problem with the protein, it changes how the connective tissue in the bones, eyes, blood vessels, and organs grows and holds cells together. The signs of Marfan syndrome are caused by these changes.
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder, so having a parent with the mutated gene is the main way to get it. Any individual with Marfan syndrome has a 50-50 chance of passing it to any child they have. But not everyone with a change in that gene gets the symptoms of Marfan syndrome. Because of this, doctors need to do in-depth physical exams and imaging studies to make a diagnosis. People who don’t have a family history of the spontaneous gene mutation are not more likely to get it than other people.
Diagnosis of Marfan Syndrome
Doctors sometimes have trouble figuring out if someone has Marfan syndrome because the signs and symptoms are similar to those of other connective tissue disorders. Even in the same family, people with Marfan syndrome can have very different signs and symptoms, both in how they look and how bad they are. To be sure that someone has Marfan syndrome, they must have a certain set of symptoms and know about their family history. In some cases, a person may have some signs of Marfan syndrome but not enough to be diagnosed with the disorder.
If your doctor thinks you might have Marfan syndrome, he or she may suggest an echocardiogram as one of the first tests to do. This test uses sound waves to make pictures of your heart beating in real time. It checks how well your heart valves work and how big your aorta is. Computerized tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are two other ways to look at the heart (MRI). If you have Marfan syndrome, your aorta’s size and health will need to be checked with imaging tests on a regular basis.
Some reasons why you might need an eye exam are:
- Slit-lamp exam: This test checks for a lens that is out of place, cataracts, or a retina that has come loose. For this exam, drops will be put in your eyes to make them bigger.
- Eye pressure test: To see if you have glaucoma, your eye doctor may use a special tool to measure the pressure inside your eyeball. Before this test, eyedrops that numb the eyes are usually used.
Testing for the genes
Most of the time, genetic testing is used to confirm that someone has Marfan syndrome. If a Marfan mutation is found, other people in the family can be tested to see if they have it too. Before you have kids, you might want to talk to a genetic counselor to find out how likely it is that you will pass on Marfan syndrome.
Common Treatment Options
Some common traditional treatments are:
- Medicines to lower blood pressure so that the aorta isn’t strained
- Surgery on your aorta to replace a part of it with an artificial tube or a new valve.
- Eye medicines are used to treat problems like glaucoma.
- Surgery for eye problems, including placement of an artificial lens for cataracts
- Scoliosis braces or surgical straightening
- Breastbone surgery can fix a chest that looks too small or too big.
- Checkups or screenings with different types of doctors, like ophthalmologists, orthopedists, geneticists, and cardiologists, on a regular basis.
Is There a Treatment for Marfan Syndrome?
There is no standard medical treatment for Marfan syndrome, but getting treatment early and often may help you avoid some of its symptoms or complications. You can talk to a genetic counselor about your options if you have Marfan syndrome and want to learn more about how to keep your children from getting the disease.
Effective Natural Remedies for Marfan Syndrome
People with Marfan syndrome can live a normal lifespan if they are checked on regularly and get some standard treatments. Individuals with Marfan syndrome can also have a good quality of life if they use natural remedies to improve their health and well-being. Try the following natural remedies to deal with the symptoms of Marfan syndrome.
Avoid Stress on the heart
People with Marfan syndrome are most likely to have trouble with their hearts. You can lower your risk of a deadly aortic rupture by making sure you don’t have high blood pressure and by getting your heart and aorta checked regularly. Changes you can make every day to ease the strain on your aorta include:
- Stay away from activities that are too hard: You shouldn’t do sports like weightlifting that require a lot of running or strain.
- Find fun things to do that are good for your heart: Some good alternatives to strenuous sports are tai chi, yoga, non-competitive swimming, walking, golf, and bowling.
- Eat food that is good for your heart: You can help keep your heart and blood vessels in the best shape possible by eating foods that are good for your heart and avoiding foods that can build up plaque in your arteries.
- Make changes that are good for you: This can make it easier to eat well and not feel like you’re missing out. For example, you can replace full-fat mayonnaise and salad dressing with low-fat versions that don’t change the taste. You can also cut down on the amount of salt you eat by adding flavor with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of herbs, or a splash of vinegar.
- Eat foods that are good for your heart: Try eating more foods that are good for your heart, like oats, salmon, whole grains, walnuts, leafy green vegetables, avocados, and berries. These foods can help keep your heart healthy by keeping your cholesterol low, keeping inflammation in check, keeping your blood pressure in check, and making sure your body has enough healthy fats and antioxidants.
- Talk to your doctor about a diet that can help lower your blood pressure: If you are taking medicine to lower your blood pressure, talk to your doctor about how to keep your heart healthy if you also want to try natural ways to lower your blood pressure, like supplements or a change in diet. Dr. Axe says that pomegranate juice, spinach, coriander, pistachios, beetroot juice, olive oil, dark chocolate, flax seed, celery, tomatoes, purple potatoes, sesame oil, and hibiscus tea may help keep your blood pressure low.
Optimize your vision
People with Marfan syndrome are more likely to have eye problems. Therefore, it is imperative to protect your vision. You can improve or protect your vision in a natural way by:
- Getting an eye exam once a year: Tell your optometrist or ophthalmologist about Marfan syndrome, and if you need to, find an eye doctor who specializes in caring for people with connective tissue disorders. Eye exams can tell you important things about the health of your eyes and blood vessels.
- Getting your eyesight fixed: You can fix your nearsightedness by getting contacts or glasses.
- Keeping your eyes safe while you do something: Your eyes may be more likely to have problems like retinal detachment, which can only be fixed with surgery. Don’t play sports that can hurt your head (football, boxing, diving). Work or activities that are hard on the body should also be avoided (jackhammers, rollercoasters, trampoline jumping). Wear safety glasses and a helmet when you do other things.
Care for your teeth and bones
Marfan syndrome may be easiest to see in the bones and teeth. You can improve the health of your bones and teeth in addition to seeing an orthopedist and a dentist regularly. Some of these steps might stop your symptoms from getting worse, while others might help you feel better about yourself and have more confidence.
- Take care of your spine: Marfan syndrome can lead to problems with the bones, like scoliosis. Use a brace or other ways to support your spine and improve your posture to keep scoliosis from getting so bad that you need surgery to fix it.
- Get a nutritional assessment: Talk to an orthopedic specialist, a dietitian who knows about Marfan syndrome, or another healthcare professional to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your bones need to stay strong and healthy.
- Eat a diet that helps your bones stay healthy: Ask about supplements. Vitamin D, calcium, and other bone-healthy supplements may help you get stronger bones and more minerals in your bones. Before you start taking new supplements, talk to your doctor.
- Take care of your teeth: People with Marfan syndrome are more likely to get cavities, gingivitis, crooked or crowded teeth, and other dental problems like teeth that are stuck in the gums. Go to the dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning and checkup. This will help keep your teeth healthy and help you look better.
- Use mouthwash and floss, and brush your teeth twice a day: By taking care of your teeth, you can lower your risk of getting cavities and gingivitis. By getting rid of harmful bacteria in your mouth, you can also lower your risk of complications like endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart.
- Eat right to help keep cavities away: This means you should stay away from sugary drinks and foods like soda and candy. You should also avoid foods that are very acidic.
If you have Marfan syndrome, don’t smoke. The disorder makes it more likely that you will have lung problems, and smoking makes your chances of developing lungs problem even worse.
Get emotional support
Marfan syndrome can make it hard to get along with other people, feel pain, and do physical tasks. This lowers the quality of life in terms of health. People with this condition who are in pain also have lower mental health, and they often show signs of depression. The Marfan Trust also says that the disorder can affect a person’s self-esteem and mental health. If you want to help your mental health and well-being, try these things:
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Find out more about the disease and what it means for your family
- Work with your school or employer to make sure a safe and supportive environment is set up
- Talk to a therapist, social worker, or group that can help
- Tell your doctors and loved ones how you feel, and let them help
Marfan syndrome is a genetic condition that affects the connective tissue in the body. It can cause a tall, thin body, long arms, legs, fingers, and toes, heart problems, and problems with how the breastbone and spine grow. The disorder can make it hard to do well in school and see well. People with Marfan syndrome shouldn’t do hard things like lifting weights or doing a lot of intense aerobic sports.
Currently, there is no known cure for Marfan syndrome. Medication to keep blood pressure low and surgery for severe scoliosis or problems with the aorta are the usual ways to treat this condition. People with Marfan syndrome can often live a normal life with the right care and changes to their lifestyle.