The first case of coronavirus in China was recorded in December 2019 and since then, more than 14,000 people have died. Scientists are working on the cure of COVID-19, but there are still lots of incurable diseases that are killing hundreds of people every year.
Although cancer is one of the deadliest diseases that killed more than 600,000 Americans in 2019, it is not in the list of incurable diseases. Nevertheless, doctors say that almost all diseases are treatable if, of course, we are talking about their identification and the beginning of treatment in the early stages.
Howandwhys has made a list of top 5 incurable diseases that are considered to be more deadly than cancer.
1. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
This disease affects the cortex of the brain or spinal cord, nerve endings. This incurable disease is considered to be a manifestation of spongiform encephalopathy, where the brain literally turns into a sponge, which leads to loss of vision, hearing, speech, as well as mental illnesses, impaired coordination, etc. The cause of its occurrence is the so-called prions (misfolded proteins) which are harmless as long as they are normal, but when converted to pathogenic ones, they trigger a destructive brain disease that cannot be cured.
It can come into your body while getting infected tissues during organ transplants from a sick person, which can happen with some medical procedures, like skin or cornea transplantation. Once a person is infected from this incurable disease, modern medicines won’t be able to cure it, only symptomatic therapy is possible, which brings relief and prolongs life, but not for long.
There are 85% cases in which an infected person died from this deadly disease, and the rest 15% have a small chance to get out with the help of supportive drugs, but it is impossible to recover.
2. Fatal Family Insomnia (FFI)
FFI is another incurable disease caused by prions. It is a rare genetic degenerative brain disorder where a person actually dies from insomnia.
This disease was first noticed by Italian physician Ignazio Reuter in 1979. While investigating the circumstances of the death of two relatives of his wife, including her sister, he unexpectedly stumbled upon the fact that the similar deaths had already occurred in his wife’s family. The symptoms were the same: first insomnia, then extreme exhaustion and death. After five years, another of their relatives died in the same way. That time, the infected person’s brain was sent for a detailed study.
After his brain had been studied, it was found out that it was not a normal death, all the deceased had a rare genetic illness without a cure. Scientists said that because of a mutation in the Chromosome 20, asparagine, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system, changed to aspartic acid, and then the protein molecule turned into a prion. Then a chain reaction was obtained: the prion began to turn the remaining protein molecules into similar ones. In the end, accumulations occurred in the part of the brain that is responsible for sleep, which became the cause of chronic insomnia that brought the person to exhaustion and then to death. This incurable disease lasts from 7 months to 3 years: a total of four phases are noted – from an obsession with paranoid ideas to ignoring external stimuli.
3. Progressive fibrodysplasia
This is a very rare and severe genetic disease in which muscles, tendons, and ligaments turn into bones over time. Children born with this ailment have a characteristic pathology: one or more phalanxes of the big toe are bent inward, and sometimes it lacks a joint.
The most common exacerbation is the appearance of certain seals under the skin: on the neck, back, forearms, and if the patient is older than 10 years, throughout all his body. One of the signs of this incurable disease is considered to be swelling of the soft tissues of the head even with minor damage (with a bruise or even a scratch and bite of an insect) that does not subside for up to a month, without responding to any medications. Surgery does not help, since cutting out the ossified area causes a new bone growth site.
According to statistics, this incurable disease can be found only in one individual out of 2 million births. (Read also:10 amazing facts about Human Adam’s apple)
The disease has been known since the 17th century, but no cure has been found. However, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania discovered the gene responsible for this mutation, but there are no certain results yet.
Rabies is a particularly dangerous deadly infectious disease caused by the Rabies virus. An individual can be easily infected from the saliva of a sick animal that got into the wound either during a bite or touching wounded skin.
The incubation period of rabies lasts from several days to 3 months, sometimes up to a year. If a person managed to pass tests and inject antibiotics, recovery is possible. And if the first symptoms appear (at first, the bite site becomes red and swollen, then itching and pain appear, then the temperature rises sharply, and the malaise, nausea, headache appear), then a fatal outcome is observed in most cases. The fact is that this virus multiplies in the nerve cells of the human body. When they reach the spinal cord and brain, they cause meningoencephalitis. Death occurs due to asphyxiation and cardiac arrest.
Until 2005, rabies had been considered in the category of incurable diseases and absolutely fatal to humans.
5. Hemorrhagic Fever Marburg (Marburg HF)
This is an incurable viral disease characterized by high mortality. The infection enters the body through damaged skin and mucous membranes. The first people who got infected with this incurable disease were those who were conducting research on the imported African green monkeys.
The incubation period lasts from 2 to 14 days. The disease immediately begins acutely and with a sharp increase in temperature, usually combined with chills.
In the beginning, general intoxication is observed (headache, sensations in the body, muscle and joint pain), then lesions of the gastrointestinal tract, dehydration, impaired consciousness are added. In half of the cases, rashes appear on the infected body after 4-5 days.
There is no exact treatment as well as effective antiviral drugs for this disease. Therefore, the main thing that a doctor can do is to carry out a set of therapeutic measures aimed at combating dehydration and overcoming infectious toxic shock. The mortality rate from the Marburg fever may exceed 90%.