Without proper treatment, the average life expectancy for persons afflicted with Marfan syndrome is 45 years. However, if the condition is properly managed, patients can enjoy a normal life expectancy, according to Northwestern Medicine. In the majority of cases, the disease worsens with age, notes Mayo Clinic.
Marfan syndrome is an inherited connective tissue disorder, explains Northwestern Medicine. Patients with the disease cannot produce the protein fibrillin, which gives connective tissue its elasticity and strength. Although Marfan syndrome is present at birth, it frequently goes unrecognized until adolescence or early adulthood.
Marfan syndrome affects the skeleton, eyes, heart and blood vessels, lungs, skin and nervous system, states MedicineNet. Features of Marfan syndrome may include a slender, tall build, disproportionately long arms and legs, heart murmurs, severe nearsightedness, flat feet and a curved spine, reports Mayo Clinic.
As of 2015, there is no cure for Marfan syndrome, notes MedicineNet. Available treatments help to minimize or prevent complications. As the disease affects multiple areas of the body, patients typically must see a range of specialists to monitor their condition, including cardiologists, ophthalmologists and orthopaedists. Doctors sometimes recommend orthopaedic braces or surgery to prevent disfiguring skeletal malformations during adolescence. Regular heart checkups are essential, as patients sometimes require heart valve surgery. Moderate exercise helps to maintain cardiovascular and skeletal health, but patients with Marfan syndrome should avoid competitive athletics and contact sports.