Heavy-drinking Chinese man contracts rare skin disease
Patient reported to have consumed 1 litre of strong spirits a day for more than 25 years
A Chinese man who drank up to a litre of strong spirits every day for more than 25 years has been diagnosed with a rare skin condition, according to a news website.
The 68-year-old from central China’s Hunan province, who was identified only by his surname Tan, started drinking at the age of 13 with other members of his family, Kankannews.com reported on Saturday.
Over the years, his consumption steadily grew and by the age of 40, he was regularly drinking 1 litre of spirits a day, though the report did not specify his preferred tipple.
About 20 years ago, Tan began noticing large fatty lumps growing under the skin of his upper body. After ignoring the growths for a while, he eventually went to see his doctor, but was told not to worry about them unless they caused him pain or restricted his breathing.
It was only several years later when he began having breathing problems that he sought a second opinion, the report said.
Doctors at Hunan Provincial People’s Hospital diagnosed his condition as benign symmetric lipomatosis – also known as Madelung’s disease from the German surgeon who first recorded it – which is characterised by the growth of large fatty deposits around the neck and shoulders.
The ailment is rare, but tends to affect middle-aged men with a history of heavy drinking, the report said.
A doctor at the hospital was quoted as saying that only about 400 cases worldwide had ever been documented.