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Woman Has Rare Condition That Baffles Doctors: She Sweats Blood

Doctors in Italy say they are puzzled by a patient who is literally sweating blood. For the last three years, the condition has been plaguing the patient and the doctors have never seen anything like it. The case was recently reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

The doctors in Florence claim the case is authentic. They've carried out careful tests to rule out any possible trickery or hoaxes. What they've found is that whenever the woman is stressed, she sweats blood. This could happen when she's sleeping, when she's engaged in physical activity or when she's agitated.

Jacalyn Duffin, a hematologist and Canadian medical historian, says she was very suspicious of the case at first, and thought the Italian doctors had been the victims of a faker. But she's examined the literature, and she's now convinced that the case is authentic.

The doctors report that the unusual condition has been interfering with the woman's life. She's depressed and has become socially withdrawn because of the condition. "Our patient had become socially isolated owing to embarrassment over the bleeding and she reported symptoms consistent with major depressive disorder and panic disorder. There was no history of psychosis,” read the case study.

The woman's blood count and blood clotting functions appeared to be normal after testing, and doctors have diagnosed her with hematohidrosis. This rare disease affects only one in every 10 million people, and only a handful of cases are known. It's so rare that even most doctors haven't heard of it.

There are only a small number of mentions of the condition throughout history, including one mention made by none other than Leonardo da Vinci. He described a soldier who sweated blood before battle.

Some believe Jesus experienced the condition when he was praying in the garden before he was executed.

Sufferers of hematohidrosis appear to sweat blood from unbroken skin due to the expansion and rupturing of blood vessels beneath the surface. The vessels can rupture due to stress. Many blood vessels surrounding the sweat glands can constrict when there is stress.

At this time, the condition has no known cure. Sufferers may experience mild dehydration and weakness from the blood loss, but mostly it is the social stigma that causes them to suffer.

The doctors have put the woman on propranolol, a beta-blocker medication. Beta-blockers have long been used for controlling blood pressure or heart conditions. They help slow down the heart and ease the pumping strength.

Doctors also gave the woman anti-depression medication in hopes of helping her get her depression and anxiety issues under control.

In another recent case, a 7-year-old girl from Thailand was found to sweat blood from her eyes, nose, ears and skin whenever she gets a headache. The condition was first noticed six months ago, and the girl has baffled one doctor after another.

Some believe that she also may be suffering from hematohidrosis, but she hasn't yet been diagnosed.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Canadian Medical Association Journal

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