Marfan syndrome treatment involves consulting more than one specialist since this dreadful disorder affects a number of vital organs and/or systems of the body. While the overall health of the patient is supervised by one general practitioner, he might refer the patient to the following specialists from time to time:
• A cardiologist (Heart specialist)
• Ophthalmologist (Eye specialist)
• Geneticist (A specialist of genetic disorders)
• Orthopedist (Bones and joints specialist)
The plan of treatment will have to be tailor-made to suit the requirements of the patient. While some patients may require only routine medical check ups, others might have to resort to medication or even surgery, depending upon the severity of the condition and the organs affected.
Inspite of the rapid advancements in the field of medicine, the doctors are yet to come up with an effective Marfan syndrome treatment or cure. Since it is more or less a genetic disorder, they will need to identify the gene responsible for causing this malfunctioning, and treat it before the birth. Since no one has been able to accomplish the feat so far, the doctors still rely on treatments that will lessen and perhaps prevent some of the complications.
Since Marfan syndrome causes weakening of aorta and the valves of the heart, regular checkups, electrocardiograms and echocardiograms have to be conducted to ensure that the heart is functioning properly. Patients with a history of heart trouble are asked to wear medical alert bracelets and to rush to the emergency room in case of stomach, abdominal or chest pain.
Drugs like beta blockers might also be used to lessen the stress on the aorta. Weak valves might need valve replacement or repair. Marfan syndrome patients should not delay the surgery or else the aorta is likely to rupture.
Patients are put on blood thinning drugs for the rest of their lives following such surgery and are asked to take due care to avoid contacting endocarditis (inflammation of the membrane lining the heart cavity and valves).
As a part of Marfan syndrome treatment, people suffering from this disorder are advised to get annual check ups done religiously, so that any changes in the backbone or the sternum can be detected in time. This assumes greater importance during the growing age i.e. the adolescent years when growth is rapid.
Such checkups are necessary to make sure that there are no deformities or malformations since they can hamper the normal functioning of the heart and the lungs, besides causing disfigurement. Orthopedic braces and, in extreme cases, surgery might be required to correct the deformities.
Dura of the people suffering from this disorder is likely to swell, a condition called dural ectasia. Medicines can help mitigate the pain and inflammation associated with this.
Marfan syndrome is also associated with problems of eye and vision. So, regular eye check-ups are essential. While simple problems like myopia need only lens or spectacles, serious problems like dislocation of lens, cataract, glaucoma, etc might require minor corrective surgeries.
Smoking is taboo for people suffering from Marfan syndrome, since their lungs are already more prone to infections and damage. Sleep related breathing problems like sleep apnea and snoring should be discussed with a doctor.
For people suffering from Marfan syndrome, pregnancy can be very stressful for the heart and should, therefore, be planned only after carefully weighing all the pros and cons with the gynecologist.
The risk of dissection is lower in women whose aorta is normal in size but those with aortic enlargement fall in high risk category. Rapid dilation of aorta or aortic regurgitation might even require bed rest.
Bringing about certain changes in lifestyle can also help in Marfan syndrome treatment. Most people diagnosed with this disorder are advised to take to light physical activities like slow jogging and walking and also recreational sports like golf, cycling, swimming, etc. Heavy and strenuous exercises like collision and contact sports, weightlifting, etc. should be avoided.
Can diet help?
Extensive research was carried out and scientists have found no positive correlation between the diet, intake of vitamins and health supplements and the general health of the patients suffering from the malady.