Nail Patella Syndrome is multi-systemic disease that causes problems with the nails, bones and kidneys.
The symptoms of nail patella syndrome vary in severity from patient to patient, although nail abnormalities are seen in almost all individuals with the condition. The fingernails are more likely to be affected than the toenails, and the thumbnails are usually the most severely affected.
Individuals with nail patella syndrome usually suffer with poor circulation in the hands and feet. They may experience hyperextension of the joints leading to dislocations; and osteoporosis of the bones leading to fractures. Nail patella syndrome also affects the following parts of the body:
• Nails: Nails may be missing, underdeveloped, discolored, split, ridged or pitted. Thumbnails are most severely affected, with each fingernail being less severely affected from the index finger to the little finger. Toenails are usually less affected by the condition.
• Kneecaps: The kneecaps may be missing, small, irregularly shaped and easily dislocated, and can click, lock or may feel unstable or painful.
• Arms and Elbows: Some people with the condition experience limited range of motion, and are not able to fully extend their arms or turn their palms up while keeping their elbows straight. The elbows may also angle outwards, and dislocations can occur.
• Pelvis: Bony growths on the pelvic bone (visible on X-rays) are common, but don’t usually cause problems.
• Eyes: These patients are at increased risk of developing glaucoma, high fluid pressure in the eyes, which can lead to blindness.
• Kidneys: 30% to 60% of patients have renal involvement. There may be protein in the urine (an early sign of kidney problems), which can be accompanied by blood in the urine. Patients with advanced disease may require kidney transplantation.
Nail patella syndrome (NPS) is also known as Fong disease or hereditary onycho-osteodysplasia. Nail Patella syndrome is an autosomal dominant genetic disease, usually caused by a fault in a gene called LMX1B that’s inherited from one parent. While it is a genetic disorder, there isn’t always an immediate family history of the disease. In some cases, an LMX1B gene mutation can occur on its own, possibly due to exposure to radiation or infection that leads to the production of faulty cells during fetal development.
How can Medical Marijuana Help Patients with Nail Patella Syndrome?
Research has shown that compounds within marijuana have anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects, which can help alleviate the knee and joint pain common in the disease. In addition, because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, cannabis has emerged as an effective alternative treatment for the management of glaucoma. Patients with nail-patella syndrome can also experience depression and anxiety. There is evidence that CBD dominant strains of cannabis can assist with managing anxiety in patients with chronic diseases, and carry fewer bothersome and damaging side effects than conventionally used medications.