Experiences of Being Heterozygous for Fabry Disease: a Qualitative Study
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Little is known about the experiences of women with Fabry disease. The aim of this study was to explore women’s experiences of being heterozygous for Fabry disease. We used an explorative qualitative study design and selected ten Norwegian women who were known heterozygous for Fabry disease to participate. We conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews and analyzed the interviews using inductive thematic analysis. We found that learning about one’s heterozygous status may be devastating for some. However, for most of the participants, heterozygous status, as well as doctors’ acceptance of symptoms in women heterozygous for Fabry disease, provided an explanation and relief. Although many women did not consider themselves ill, they wished to be acknowledged as more than “just carriers.” The participants were grateful for enzyme replacement therapy, although it had its burdens regarding time, planning, and absences from school or work. Women with Fabry disease felt that the lack of knowledge among healthcare professionals about Fabry disease was frustrating and worrisome. These findings suggest that healthcare professionals should acknowledge the different ways women react to their diagnosis, and be aware of the personal costs of receiving treatment.
KeywordsExperiences Heterozygous Fabry disease Psychosocial X-linked Genetic counseling
galactosidase alpha gene
enzyme replacement therapy
quality of life
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