Aging and saggy skin may be closely related. Hence, physical changes to someone’s skin might be able to tell about their age. However, there are some cases wherein the look on a person’s skin cannot necessarily show how old she or he is. The skin, in this case, might be too saggy, while the person himself is not too old yet. Regarding the condition, cutis laxa syndrome might possibly be the culprit.
What is cutis laxa syndrome?
Cutis laxa refers to a very rare, degenerative skin syndrome. This syndrome affects the connective tissues of the body and causes visible effects on the facial and body skin. People suffering cutis laxa may experience very saggy skin which makes them look older than their actual age.
How cutis laxa is obtained
When a person is suffering from cutis laxa syndrome, their connective tissues loosen up, causing the skin to become saggy and inelastic. In most cases, cutis laxa is hereditary. It is thus, transmitted over generations in a family, although not all the family members are susceptible. It is possible for cutis laxa for being absent with some generations and occurs in an unpredictable manner. In few cases, abnormal genes might not trigger any negative effects to the skin. Instead, it affects the brain, causing retarded mental condition.
Cutis laxa syndrome symptoms
Cutis laxa, in many cases, only affects the skin appearance. However, this disorder might also cause more severe health problems. With cutis laxa, symptoms can be visible, so that the patients will be able to observe this syndrome. Cutis laxa may affect infants, children, and adults. Hence, these symptoms might occur right after a baby is born or when he or she has reached puberty or adulthood.
Cutis laxa may affect the connective tissues throughout the body, such as in muscles, joints, skin, and other organs. Major symptoms of this syndrome include:
- Loose or lax skin on the face and other body areas. Affected skin might also seem wrinkled, sagged, or redundant. Most affected body parts include face, arms, legs, and trunk.
- Prematurely-aged appearance in children and infants. Saggy skin on the face may make them look much older than their true age.
- Lax ligaments and tendons which lead to abnormally loose joints.
- Inelastic skin, which is not able to retract to its original shape when stretched.
- The affected loose skin is not accompanied by bruises and scarring, which are common with other kinds of skin disorders.
- Excessive skin folds which affects both eye corners, cheeks, jaws, necks, thighs, and arms.
- Sad expression, which is caused by folds in facial skin. This might also trigger prematurely-aged facial expression.
In more severe cases, cutis laxa does not only affect the skin elasticity and appearance. Instead, this syndrome affects the connective tissues in the body’s main organs, bones, blood vessels, and joints that may lead into health complications. When the syndrome affect these organs, the patients might experience more severe symptoms, such as:
- Digestion system dysfunction, which is signed by abdominal pain, continuous abnormal feces, and bowel movement problems.
- Cardiopulmonary system disorder, which affects the heart and lungs, causing respiratory dysfunction, which is signed by shortness of breath, high blood pressure, slower heart rate, weakness, and fatigue which lasts long.
- Muscle problems, which include joint pain, muscle weakness, and fragile bones.
Cutis laxa is genetically transmitted and may affect both men and women. Hence, both genders have similar chance of having this disease when there is a history within the family. Although the symptoms do not necessarily occur during infanthood, it may occur in later stages of life, even in adulthood. Knowledge about this family history and thorough examination on the skin physical appearance will be required to diagnose cutis laxa and what organs and tissues have been affected. Genetic blood testing will also be helpful in determining the type of cutis laxa undergone by the patients.