(Marie’s disease; Pachyacria)
Definition. – A rare, nutritional disease characterized by progressive overgrowth and enlargement of the face, hands and feet.
Symptoms. – The advanced cases will show definite enlargement and thickening of the bones and soft tissues of the hands and feet. Facial features are often exaggerated, the lower jaw, ears, lips and tongue being increased in size. The skin is sometimes pale and waxy although it may be pigmented and hypertrichosis, hyperidrosis and sclerotic or fissured thickening may be present.
Etiology and Pathology. – The cause is unknown although enlargements of the pituitary body have been considered as causal. Male adults are more often affected. Collagenous hypertrophy of the cutis and hypoderma has been noted (Unna).
Diagnosis. – For the differential points of myxedema see that disease. “Gigantism” is a condition in which the while body is symmetrically and uniformly increased in size, while the hypertrophy in acromegaly is distinctly local. Rheumatoid arthritis may show enlargements of the bones of the larger joints, progressive in nature and resulting in deformities, but its other symptoms are sufficiently characteristic.
Prognosis and Treatment. – This condition continues indefinitely and invariably advances through different stages of physical and mental decline to a fatal termination. Treatment is without avail, although thyroid and other extracts have been used internally and the lime salts, especially Calcarea carb., would seem well indicated.