A woman who ages eight times faster than the average person only realized this in her 20s when her hair and teeth started to fall out.
Tiffany Wedekind from Ohio, says that as she was growing up, she knew that something was wrong. Tiffany is only 4 ft 5 tall, but this didn't prevent her from marrying and divorcing and starting her own home decor business.
"My doctor got interested in me when my hair and teeth started to fall out in my early twenties," Tiffany said.
However, Tiffany's condition was revealed only when her brother Chad, who dreamt of having a family, agreed to undergo genetic testing to see if he had any genetic abnormalities that are passed down through the generations.
Finally, the whole family sent DNA samples, which showed that both Tiffany and Chad had progeria, which neither of them knew about.
Progeria is a rare genetic disorder that is caused by a defective gene on the mother's side.
There are only 179 people worldwide living with progeria, and people with the disease are usually diagnosed at about 2. Their life expectancy is about 15 years.
After Wedekind, the next oldest person with progeria was Margaret Casey of Connecticut, who passed away in 1985 at age 29.
Now Tiffany is 43 and she has lived twice the age of an average person with progeria. Wedekind is currently the oldest person living with progeria also known as the Benjamin Button syndrome.
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Unfortunately, due to this condition Chad died in 2012 when he was only 39 years old.
Tiffany says that it is for her brother that she lives life to the fullest, noting that she's "just lucky to still be here."
"I'm aging a lot faster than everyone else, and frankly, I don't understand why I've lived so long and outlived other people with progeria," says Tiffany, who admits that she is a "medical miracle."
She thinks that it is her self-care, yoga, cycling, and active lifestyle which have contributed to her longevity.
As she admits that she is blessed not to suffer from cardiovascular or skeletal problems, which people with progeria often have.
True, she has many other features characteristic of progeria, including the classic narrow face, smaller lower jaw, protruding nose, and a high-pitched voice.
In addition, Tiffany is aging much faster than her peers, she's developing premature wrinkles, and she's lost her teeth and now has to wear dentures.
She said that sometimes she gets bad comments on the street, mostly people talk about her height and appearance, and some passers-by think she's a child.
Recently, however, Tiffany has started taking a new drug called Lornafarnib, which is believed to slow down the aging process.
"I know I'm a medical abnormality, and I'm lucky to still be here, yet I think I've lived my life as well as anyone else," she says.
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