Rare Condition Causes Woman's Gums To Look Like Strawberries

Doctors were stunned when a patient visited a clinic with deadly mouth disease which saw her teeth engulfed in a case of overgrown gum, resembling a strawberry.

The unnamed woman told specialists that she had started to notice their increased size six weeks earlier and had been suffering from nose bleeds.

According to the case study, which was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, the 42-year-old also had several ulcers on her face, which were 'eating away' at her face.

Dr Maryam Ghiasi treated the woman at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran, and said lab tests confirmed she was suffering from granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), with tests showing several nodules in her lungs.

In the report, she said: "Strawberry gingivitis is a rare manifestation of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and its clinical presentation is highly suggestive of the disease."

However, the patient didn't return for a follow-up consultation, so doctors don't know what happened to her.

The 42-year-old's teeth became encased in overgrown gum. Credit: nejm
The 42-year-old's teeth became encased in overgrown gum. Credit: nejm

Speaking about the case, Dr Joseph Nemeth, a peridontist from the United States, said: "The tissue can look like strawberries.

"However, it is a symptom of a very serious vascular or blood vessel disease. If not caught early it can be fatal.

"As dentists we are often the first to actually see something like this because the patient might not be aware of symptoms other than what's going on in their mouth.

"This is an extreme case. These cases are not common, but they do occur.

"A blood vessel disease can be treated if caught early but if not, it can be fatal."

If it's not treated, GPA can be deadly because it causes severe damage to the body and can stop the kidneys working properly.

The patient didn't return for a check up so doctors don't know what happened to her. Credit: PA
The patient didn't return for a check up so doctors don't know what happened to her. Credit: PA

It's thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system, which makes it attack the blood vessels in the body. And though specialists don't know exactly what the root cause is, they believe it is often triggered by an infection or virus.

If it goes untreated, the rare disease can prove fatal, causing major damage to the body, including preventing the kidneys from functioning.

There are a number of signs to look out for when trying to spot the deadly condition, such as fatigue, hearing loss, rashes and lumps, as well as diarrhoea, double vision and even blood in urine.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot on France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

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