Werner syndrome is a condition that causes an affected individual to age prematurely. Patients with this condition can grow as expected until the age where they begin puberty. Following puberty, Werner syndrome patients do not continue to grow as a healthy individual would. An affected individual begins to experience medical problems normally associated with late adulthood by the time they have reached thirty years old. The development of cancer is more likely to occur in individuals with Werner syndrome, including skin and thyroid cancers.
An inherited mutation in the WRN gene is known to be the cause of Warner syndrome. Diagnosis of Werner syndrome is made with the use of a physical examination and genetic blood testing. There is no cure for Werner syndrome and treatment centers around symptom management and the prevention of numerous complications, including heart disease and cancer.
Slow Growth Rate
One of the most prevalent symptoms in Werner syndrome is an abnormally slow growth rate. Children affected by Werner syndrome are abnormally thin, and their growth begins to slow when they reach late childhood. A child who has Werner syndrome will appear to weigh less and be shorter than their peers of the same age. Healthy children typically experience what is called a growth spurt during puberty that causes their long bones to grow, and their body height increases significantly.
However, Werner syndrome patients do not go through this adolescent growth spurt at all. The final height of an individual who has Werner syndrome is reached by the time they are thirteen years old. Due to this malfunction, affected individuals end up having an abnormally short stature throughout their life. A female with Werner syndrome will not have fully developed ovaries, and a male will not have fully developed testes. This lack of growth is referred to using the term hypogonadism. It is generally rare for Werner syndrome patients to have the ability to have a biological child.