Lizzie Velasquez became known as the “world’s ugliest woman” only due to the cruelty of others, but now she is going public in a way that only can be described as beautiful. But what exactly are the rare diseases called Marfan syndrome and lipodystrophy?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the world’s ugliest woman documentary premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW) over the weekend. Velasquez hopes the anti-bullying movie will bring hope to bullying victims.
When only 17-years-old, Lizzie Velasquez found a video of herself on YouTube where she was described as the world’s ugliest woman. The 26-year-old woman has never weighed more than 64 pounds in her entire life despite standing five feet, two inches tall. The video had been watched millions of times already, but what made her heart sink was the comments section.
“I was shocked,” Velasquez recalls, “but it wasn’t until I started to read the comments that my stomach really sank.”
Thousands of people left nasty comments which claimed her outward ugliness would blind them if they ever saw her in person. Others were far worse, suggesting she should kill herself. One comment treated her as if she was a horror movie monster, saying, “Kill it with fire.”
In the past, Velasquez has sat down for an interview with Dr. Drew, explaining how these comments affected her outlook.
“I’m human, of course these things are going to hurt. But, I’m not going to let those things define me. At the end of the day, these are just words. If they are so proud, then they should show their face. I feel I’m really glad I don’t look like the celebrities out there who are beautiful, because there are a lot of stereotypes attached to that.”
According to BBC News, the so-called world’s ugliest woman documentary, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, explains that Valasquez was born with lipodystrophy. This rare medical disorder prevents her body from depositing any adipose tissue, which means she does not have any body fat. This explains her skeletal appearance, since body fat typically fills in gaps in the facial structure, creating what is commonly known as beauty.
Unfortunately, lipodystrophy not only affects the outward appearance, but the long-term health of a person, causing premature aging and tissue degeneration. Since Velasquez does not have body fat, she must consume a high-calorie diet every 15 to 20 minutes in order to maintain a sufficient energy level. She is also blind in one eye and has difficulty fighting off diseases due to her weakened immune system.
There are only three known cases of lipodystrophy in the entire world. Doctors did not even have a name for it until 2014, and while they have been studying the problem, Velasquez has suffered from eye surgery, ear surgery, complete foot reconstruction, bone density tests, and a number of blood tests.
Doctors are also currently investigating whether Lizzie Velasquez also has Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. While many may have not heard about the medical condition, the Mayo Clinic says there are about 20,000 to 200,000 cases per year. She is currently undergoing heart scans to determine whether or not Marfan syndrome has caused any defects since aortic enlargement can be life-threatening.
In the end, the so-called “world’s ugliest woman” documentary truly shows her inward beauty. While doctors are struggling to work on Lizzie Velasquez’s medical conditions, she is struggling against online bullying. She has produced three self-help books and is lobbying the U.S. Federal government for an anti-bullying bill.
[Image via Adobe]