Marfan syndrome is a hereditary disorder that affects the connective tissue in many parts of the body. The function of the connective tissue varies widely and will depend on the types of cells involved. As an example, loose and dense irregular connective tissue plays a very important role in providing oxygen and nutrients from capillaries to cells and carbon dioxide and waste substances from cells back into the capillaries. Another function that connective tissue has is it will allow organs to resist tearing forces or stretching.

In Marfan syndrome, the two primary features are vision problems and a defect in the large blood vessel that distributes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. In vision problems, one or both eyes will have dislocated lens. In the blood vessel, it’s the aorta that is affected where it is weakened and stretched, which can lead to bulging in the blood vessel wall or an aneurysm. And stretching in the aorta may cause the aortic valve to leak which can lead to sudden tearing of the layers in the aorta wall. This can be a life-threatening condition.

In addition, people who have Marfan syndrome have additional heart problems including a leak in the valve that connects two of the four chambers of the heart. Any leakage or backflow can cause shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, and fatigue among others.

People with Marfan syndrome are generally tall and slender, have an arm span that exceeds their body height, and have elongated fingers and toes. Some of the common features include a long and narrow face, abnormal curvature of the spine, a sunken or protruding chest and a crowded.

The Marfan syndrome features can become apparent anytime between infancy and adulthood. Marfan can be life-threatening or fatal early in life, but some individuals who are affected were able to survive into mid to late adulthood.


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If you suspect you have or is suffering from Marfan syndrome, you may be eligible for health assistance. SSA considers Marfan Syndrome as a criterion for the application of SSDI and SSI.