Prader-Willi syndrome symptoms: What is Prader-Willi syndrome?

Harvey Price, the son of Katie Price and Dwight Yorke, is the reason many Brits will have heard of Prader-Willi syndrome. He recently fell ill at his younger sister Princess’ birthday party and was sent to a local hospital for urgent medical attention. Harvey has a number of health concerns, so it isn’t certain the illness is connected with Prader-Willi syndrome.

What is Prader-Willi syndrome?

Prader-Willi syndrome is caused by a fault in a group of genes on chromosome number 15.

This happens by chance, and boys and girls of all ethnic background could be affected.

However, it is extremely rare for parents to have more than one child with Prader-Willi syndrome.

Both Prader-Willi syndrome and Angolan syndrome are caused by mutations in chromosome 15.

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This fault leads to a number of problems and is thought to affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is responsible for producing hormones and regulating growth and appetite.

The typical features of Prader-Willi syndrome are delayed growth and persistent hunger.

There is no cure for Prader-Willi syndrome, but there are ways to manage the symptoms.

Prader-Willi syndrome symptoms

Prader-Willi syndrome causes a range of symptoms, learning difficulties, and behavioural problems.

Most cases are spotted shortly after birth and can be confirmed by carrying out genetic testing.

If a baby is very floppy at birth, they may be tested.

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• an excessive appetite and overeating, which can easily lead to dangerous weight gain
• restricted growth (children are much shorter than average)
• floppiness caused by weak muscles (hypotonia)
• learning difficulties
• lack of sexual development
• behavioural problems, such as temper tantrums or stubbornness


How to manage Prader-Willi syndrome

The key to caring for a child with this illness is trying to help them maintain a normal weight.

The child should have a health, balanced diet and avoid high-calorie treats as soon as the illness is recognised.

If you don’t keep an eye on what they eat, they will become dangerously overweight.

A child with Prader-Willi syndrome can eat three to six times more than other children the same age and still feel hungry.

It will be challenging to limit their intake, and suffering children may behave badly to get food or hide and steal food.

Is Prader-Willi syndrome life-threatening?

The illness is not life-threatening, but it is easy for sufferers to spiral out of control and develop obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart failure or respiratory difficulties.

If the child becomes obese, they will die a lot younger than expected.

Prader-Willi syndrome can be managed and adults can have a good quality of life.

These adults who successfully control the illness could live a fully independent life with a normal life expectancy.

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