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How Many Diseases Are There You Never Heard Of?

There are a LOT of them! But you don’t often need to worry about them.

Rich Sobel
4 min readDec 21, 2019


There are over a thousand rare diseases that most of us will never encounter or ever have to deal with or experience. They can range from dramatic, painful and agonizing short-term conditions that end in premature death to a chronic long-term disability with no cure in sight. For the person and their caregivers who are suffering from these conditions, life is often a constant battle.

Just recently I encountered one and it kind of took me by surprise.

I was talking with a good friend of mine and he was showing me how his hand was deformed and I said, “Oh, you’re getting arthritis, right?” and he said “No. It’s not arthritis.”

I said “It looks like arthritis.”

He said it’s “Dupuytren’s Disease.”

I wasn’t sure exactly what he said as I had never heard the disease mentioned before and he had never referred to it so I asked him to spell it. I knew I would never remember it so I asked him to send me a link to it so I could learn more about it.

And he did. Here’s the link.

Then he started telling me about how there were surgical treatments that might alleviate the condition and how he was hopeful that it might be something that he might be able to get at some point to “cure” his condition.

And that got me thinking.

Just how many diseases are there out there that most of us have probably never heard of? Probably a lot!

Time to do some research.

And I found a whole host of diseases I’d never heard of!

After looking at a bunch of them it became obvious why there were diseases most people have never heard of. A lot of them are rare and the most common cause is a genetic anomaly.



Rich Sobel

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