Congenital analgesia is a condition that makes a person completely insensitive to physical pain. This disease is extremely rare and usually noticed at birth. An individual with this disease might be able to tell the difference between sharp or dull pressure as well as hot or cold sensations but are usually completely unaware of the pain that comes with it. This means that a person with this disease can be on fire and not even feel it!
Other names for this condition are pain insensitivity, congenital pain indifference, a symbolic for pain, CIP, Congenital autosomal recessive, and channelopathy associated insensitivity to pain.
The downside of this disease is that there can be an accumulation of physical health problems which the carrier may ignore since there isn’t any evidence in form of pain, which might lead to very serious health problems in the future.
Children born with this disease are most endangered, as they can sustain broken bones, torn muscles, separations, and dislocation during a playdate without being aware. A continued occurrence of these injuries can significantly reduce the life expectancy of the carrier.
Congenital analgesia is largely considered to be a type of peripheral neuropathy as it is caused by the impairment of the peripheral nervous system. Sensations such as pain are connected to nerves linking the brain and the spinal cord to other tissues in the body, the alteration of this connection in any way can alter our senses.
Congenital insensitivity is very rare and has been reported in at least 20 cases.
What causes congenital insensitivity?
A genetic mutation in the SCN9A genes is found responsible for the insensitivity to pain. The mutation causes the formation of non-functional channels. The absence of a NaV1.7 channel hinders the transmission of pain sensations to the brain. This obstruction also leads to Anosmia (in-ability to smell)
The disease is hereditary and can be formed as a result of an autosomal recessive condition in parental genes. Each of the parents typically has no physical evidence of this mutation. The signs and symptoms become dominant in the offspring.
Is there a cure for Congenital Analgesia?
There is no known cure for this disease. Individuals with this disease will likely live with it for the rest of their lives. Parents, however, may go for genetic testing to confirm the possibilities of a genetic mutation in order to make clearer decisions.