Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes decreased muscle tone, mild-to-moderate intellectual disability, and an intense appetite during childhood and adulthood. Behavioral problems, such as a quick temper or obsessive-compulsive disorder, are also common.
Because they often have poor muscle tone at birth, children born with Prader-Willi syndrome may have difficulty feeding until they are about one year old. However, children soon develop insatiable appetites and typically gain weight rapidly. As a result, individuals with this disorder are often overweight or obese. Many of the complications of Prader-Willi syndrome, including diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, right-sided heart failure, and joint problems, are caused by obesity.
It is estimated that one out of 10,000-25,000 people worldwide have Prader-Willi syndrome.
There is no cure for Prader-Willi syndrome. However, many treatments and therapies may help patients cope with the disorder and help prevent complications. Weight control is especially important to prevent complications of obesity.
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