Congenital analgesia is a rare disease that causes the individual to not experience any type of pain. This disease can also be called congenital insensitivity to pain and causes its carriers not to notice temperature differences, they can easily burn, and although they are sensitive to touch, they are unable to feel physical pain and are prone to serious injuries, even crushing limbs.
Pain is a signal emitted by the body that serves for protection. It indicates danger signs, when the joints are used in an extreme way, and it also helps to identify diseases, such as ear infection, gastritis or other more serious ones, such as heart attack. As the person does not feel pain, the disease progresses and worsens, being discovered at an advanced stage.
The causes of congenital analgesia have not yet been fully clarified, but it is known that motor and sensory neurons do not develop normally in these individuals. This is a genetic disease and can affect individuals in the same family.
Signs of congenital analgesia
The main sign of congenital analgesia is the fact that the individual has not experienced any physical pain since birth and for life.
Due to this fact, the baby can self-mutilate itself by constantly scratching and cutting itself. A scientific article reported the case of a boy who pulled out his own teeth and bit his hands to the point of pulling out the tips of his fingers at the age of 9 months.
It is common to have several cases of fever a year due to infections that are not to be diagnosed and multiple injuries, including fractures, dislocations and bone deformities. There is usually irritability and hyperactivity associated with it.
In some types of congenital analgesia there is a change in sweating, tearing and mental retardation.
How the diagnosis is made
The diagnosis of congenital analgesia is made based on the clinical observation of the baby or child, as it is usually discovered in childhood. A biopsy of the skin and peripheral nerves and a sympathetic stimulation test and DNA analysis can be used to confirm the disease. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs should be performed on the entire body to assess possible injuries and initiate necessary treatments as soon as possible.
Is congenital analgesia curable?
Treatment for congenital analgesia is not specific, as this disease has no cure. Therefore, immobilizations and surgeries may be necessary to treat orthopedic injuries and prevent loss of limbs.
The individual must be accompanied by a multidisciplinary team composed of a doctor, nurse, dentist and psychologist among others in order to prevent new injuries and improve their quality of life. Medical consultations and examinations are recommended and should be performed at least once a year to investigate whether there are diseases that need to be treated.