Columbus doctor diagnoses Alabama family with rare disease - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus doctor diagnoses Alabama family with rare disease

While you sit around the Thanksgiving table with your family, talk with them about health history.  25 million Americans suffer from rare diseases, and many of those are hereditary or genetic.  Knowing what has gone on in previous generations can help a doctor diagnose you.

Read the story of this Alabama family and the Columbus doctor that diagnosed their rare disease after five generations suffered symptoms.

Until recently, the Teals lived with undiagnosed symptoms of daily fever, chills, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue, and a red, bumpy rash. The symptoms, which would worsen with exposure to cold – such as air conditioning – were not new to Trisha's family. Before Trisha, her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all experienced similar symptoms. Yet no one had been able to find answers to these mysterious ailments.

Trisha's oldest son, Adam, used clues from his grandmother's health history to finally find an answer that had eluded his ancestors. After spending long hours researching his family's mysterious symptoms online, a Wall Street Journal article led Adam to a patient who suffered the same symptoms and ultimately to a doctor who gave him and his family a conclusive diagnosis. They were diagnosed with Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes or CAPS, a very rare but serious and lifelong inflammatory genetic disease that affects only about 300 people nationwide.    

To help educate Americans about the importance of knowing your family history, the U.S. Surgeon General has designated Thanksgiving Day as National Family History Day. The Surgeon General encourages families to take advantage of holidays and get-togethers to talk about health problems that run in families. Knowing your family's health history is a first step to ensuring a healthier future for yourself – and for future generations. Read more about the Surgeon General's initiative by visiting: http://www.hhs.gov/familyhistory/.

As a local mom and wife living in Hartselle, Alabama, Trisha provides a compelling personal story of living with a mysterious illness. The family's physician, Dr. Robert Cartwright, from Columbus, Georgia, has one of the nation's largest single practices of CAPS patients and can provide information about the disease and the importance of knowing your family health history.

Part of the story written by Burson-Marsteller Healthcare Practice. 

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