Xeroderma Pigmentosum is a medical affliction that occurs in an extremely small percentage of the populace. The genetic makeup of people afflicted with XP causes a host of problems repairing the damage from ultraviolet rays that the sun emanates. Children with Xeroderma Pigmentosum should only be allowed to play at night. For this reason, people afflicted with Xeroderma Pigmentosum are ridiculed as the “people of the night” or vampires. Although this is obviously untrue, people with xp have a very hard life. Almost all cases are extreme cases of XP and they result in people unable to handle sunlight at all. It is a genetic disorder that can result in skin cancer at a young age for those afflicted.
Xeroderma Pigmentosum causes severe sunburn and eye irritation almost immediately upon exposure to sunlight. People afflicted can get blisters and freckling of the skin. The problem many people with XP face is the super dry skin that also comes with the affliction. People with normal skin have the ability to repair the damage from the sun. Unfortunately, people with Xeroderma Pigmentosum lack the capacity to repair the damage caused from ultraviolet light. A person with XP can develop dark spots on the skin. This is a disease that is irreversible. Xeroderma Pigmentosum is an inherited disease. It is progressive as well as additive, meaning that other problems can occur in addition to skin problems. Xeroderma Pigmentosum can cause deafness, blindness, mental retardation, poor coordination, and stunted growth. One in five people afflicted with XP will have some of the before mentioned problems in addition to the inability to walk in the sun. Most people with undiagnosed Xeroderma Pigmentosum die at an early age with skin cancer.
The goal of all treatments for XP is to protect the patient from sunlight. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreens in conjunction with other sun protection equipment such as umbrellas, hats, or any other UV reducer. There have been some recent advancement in gene therapy, but unfortunately the research is still very theoretical and experimental. Surgery is still a treatment for parts of the skin that show malignant cancer and should be completely removed. Many people with Xeroderma Pigmentosum have many different doctors to consult from eye doctors to dermatologists to neurologists. People with XP should try to keep a positive outlook on life, as hard as that may be.
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