Click here to return to the LMHS Home Page

 

Print-Friendly
Bookmarks

Alström syndrome

 

Alström syndrome is a very rare disease passed down through families (inherited) that can lead to blindness, deafness, diabetes, and obesity.

Alström syndrome is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. This means both your parents must pass on a copy of the defective gene (ALMSI) in order for you to have this disease.

It is unknown how the defective gene causes the disorder.

The condition is extremely rare. It is more common in Holland and Sweden than in the United States.

Symptoms

 

  • Blindness or severe vision impairment in infancy
  • Dark patches of skin (acanthosis nigricans)
  • Deafness
  • Impaired heart function (cardiomyopathy), which may lead to heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Progressive kidney failure
  • Slowed growth
  • Symptoms of childhood-onset or type 2 diabetes

Occasionally, the following can also occur:

  • Gastrointestinal reflux
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Small penis

 

Exams and Tests

 

An eye doctor (ophthalmologist) will examine the eyes. The patient may have reduced vision.

Tests may be done to check:

  • Blood sugar levels (to diagnose hyperglycemia)
  • Hearing
  • Heart function
  • Thyroid function
  • Triglyceride levels

 

Treatment

 

There is no specific treatment for this syndrome. Treatment for symptoms may include:

  • Diabetes medicine
  • Hearing aids
  • Heart medicine
  • Thyroid hormone replacement

 

Support Groups

 

Alström Syndrome International -- www.alstrom.org

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

The following are likely to develop:

  • Deafness
  • Permanent blindness
  • Type 2 diabetes

Kidney and liver failure may get worse.

 

Possible Complications

 

  • Complications from diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease (from diabetes and high cholesterol)
  • Fatigue and shortness of breath (if poor heart function is not treated)

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your health care provider if you or your child has symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst and urination. Seek medical attention right away if you think that your child cannot see or hear normally.

 

 

References

Torres VE, Grantham JJ. Cystic diseases of the kidney. In: Taal MW, Chertow GM, Marsden PA, et al, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 45.

BACK TO TOPText only

 

        A Closer Look

         

          Self Care

           

            Tests for Alström syndrome

             
               

              Review Date: 8/30/2014

              Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
              adam.com

               
               
               

               

               

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.