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Fields' disease is considered to be one of the rarest known diseases in the world, with only two diagnosed cases in history. It is named after Welsh twins Catherine and Kirstie Fields, of Llanelli. Fields' disease is a neuromuscular disease, causing muscular degeneration.
The disease was first noticed when the twins were around the age of four. Doctors have been unable to identify it and have not been able to match it to any known diseases. As a result, the Fields sisters have undergone numerous tests, but no treatment has yet been found. No definitive cause has been determined and doctors have generally concluded that they were born with it.
The disease appears to be progressive in nature. The Fields twins started having problems when they were four years old. By the time they had reached the age of nine, they were having difficulty walking and needed frames to assist them with walking. Their muscles have been gradually deteriorating over time. The disease affects the twins' nerves, causing them to make involuntary muscle movements such as trembling in the hands.
The extent of the disease is still unknown as the two women are only 21. However, the disease has had no apparent effect on their brains or personalities. Doctors do not know if the disease is fatal and, if so, what the life expectancy of one with this disease is. If the cause of the disease is genetic, there is a chance that the twins could pass it on to their future children.
The twins' lives
The twins require the use of wheelchairs for mobility and are unable to speak without the assistance of electronic speaking aids. They experience persistent and painful muscle spasms which are worsened by emotional distress. They are currently living with their parents, with the assistance of hospice workers. Doctors continue to administer tests to the twins in search of a treatment.