Diseases and Conditions

Understanding Marfan’s Syndrome


Who Gets It?

Antoine Marfan first documented this disorder in 1896 when he was examining a girl with unusually long arms and legs. It was later discovered that Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that is passed down to children from their parents in most cases. In some cases, a person of any age can develop Marfan syndrome without any family history of this condition.

Men, women, and people of all races are equally susceptible to developing this condition. Marfan syndrome is a degenerative disease, which means it gets worse with age. Yet, people with Marfan syndrome can live long and relatively healthy lives if this disorder is diagnosed and treated in the early stages. Children with Marfan syndrome can expect to live to be 70 years old or older, according to the Children’s National Health System.

The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Rare Diseases list Marfan syndrome and its subtypes as a rare disease because it affects less than 200,000 people in America. Orphanet, a European-based global medical research organization, also lists Marfan syndrome as a rare disease. Because people with Marfan syndrome exhibit other medical conditions, Marfan syndrome sometimes goes undiagnosed. This means the number of Marfan syndrome case may be underreported.