London: A 23-year-old
woman claims that she aged by 50 years in just days. Her story has
sparked an internet debate asking if such rapid ageing is possible
and medical experts are divided on what could have triggered it.
Vietnamese woman Nguyen Thi Phuong now looks like a septuagenarian
after the affliction took hold following an allergic reaction to
seafood, it's claimed.
Her sad story began in 2008, when she says her youthful beauty
began to fade over the course of just a few days, leaving her with
sagging, wrinkled skin all over her face and body, The Sun
Until now she has apparently been forced to wear a mask in public
to hide her appearance from prying eyes, but now doctors are
attempting to establish what caused her sudden and horrifying
Her husband, carpenter Nguyen Thanh Tuyen says his love for his
once beautiful wife has not faded while Phuong, now 26, says her
condition has only worsened since she was first struck with the
condition, according to the newspaper.
Doctors are at odds over what condition she has - some have argued
it is lipodystrophy, a rare syndrome that causes a layer of fatty
tissue beneath the surface of the skin to disintegrate while the
skin itself continues to grow at a startling pace.
The syndrome, which has no cure, leaves its victims with loose
folds of skin all over their bodies, wrinkled faces and the gaunt
features of people decades older.
The condition is extremely rare and only 2,000 people throughout
the world are thought to have lipodystrophy.
Nguyen claims she has long been allergic to seafood and that she
had suffered a particularly bad reaction in 2008.
"I was really itchy all over my body. I had to scratch even while
sleeping," the newspaper quoted her as saying.
She said she took some medicine bought at a local pharmacy instead
of going to the hospital because she and her husband, now 33, were
too poor to pay for treatment.
The carpenter said his wife's disease has not affected his love
for her or their relationship.