8 People With Real Medical Conditions That Are Stranger Than Fiction

1Real life Tin (Wo)Man (scleroderma)

First thing in the morning, many of us need a quick stretch to ease ourselves into the day, but Nicola Whitehill's daily routine is a little more complicated. She needs three hours of bathing in oil and slathering moisturizer on her skin to unlock her stiffened limbs. Whitehill, 40, has systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), meaning her skin and blood vessels harden and restrict her movement.

"When I wake up I'm like the Tin Man. My whole body is stiff and feels like leather," she said. "I have to bathe in liquid paraffin and then cover myself in cream. Otherwise, I can't even straighten my arms out in front of me."

2Real Life Pinocchio (encephalocele)

A Welsh toddler has been described as a “real-life Pinocchio” after a rare condition left him with a bulbous nose. Twenty-one-month-old Ollie Trezise was born with encephalocele, a birth defect which caused his brain to grow through a crack in his skull into his nose. Ollie has undergone several painful surgeries at Birmingham Children's Hospital to enable him to breathe.

His mother first discovered something was different about Ollie when doctors spotted an unexpected soft tissue growing on his face during her 20-week scan. An MRI later confirmed that the lump on the boy's nose was encephalocele. It happens when the neural tube does not close completely during pregnancy, leaving an opening in the midline of the upper part of the skull, the area between the forehead and nose, or the back of the skull, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

3Sleeping Beauty (Kleine-Levin syndrome)

She is known to her family and friends as "Sleeping Beauty," but her life is no fairytale. Louisa Ball, 15, sleeps for two weeks at a time because she suffers from Kleine-Levin syndrome. She misses school exams, dance lessons, and even missed an entire week's holiday away with the family as she slept the whole way through.

Ball first developed the disorder in October 2008 after recovering from a bout of flu. For years, doctors didn't know what was wrong. The syndrome is a rare form or periodic hypersomnia, where sufferers have periods of extended sleep. Doctors don't know what causes it, although it is thought it may be related to malfunction of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that governs appetite and sleep. It is more common in males than females and usually disappears in adulthood. Between sleep periods the sufferer recovers completely.

4Benjamin Button (Progeria)

A newborn baby boy has been dubbed Bangladesh's Benjamin Button due to his resemblance to an elderly man resulting from a rare genetic disorder, known as progeria, which affects one in 8 million births.

The boy has a wrinkled forehead, sunken eyes, and a shrunken body, sparking comparisons to the Hollywood film and F. Scott Fitzgerald story, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which depicts a baby born looking like an old man who then ages in reverse. He was born in the village of Bhulbaria in Bangladesh's Magura district on July 2016 and has been the source of much curiosity, with neighbors flocking to see the child. His parents told local media they are delighted and are not distressed by the child's condition.

5Smurf (argyria)

For 40 years, Paul Karason of Oregon was fair-skinned, with freckles and reddish-blond hair — until his skin turned a bright shade of blue.

Karason's blue skin is the result of a rare medical syndrome known as argyria, or silver poisoning. He began using silver as a form of alternative medicine, not knowing what might happen.

In 1998, he saw an ad in a new-age magazine promising health and rejuvenation through colloidal silver. Karason sent away for a kit and, for a while, was drinking at least 10 ounces of silver a day. In those first months, he didn't notice a change in his skin color. But soon his face turned blue. Then, the rest of his body changed color as well.

Paul's reaction when he realized he'd turned all blue? "I hoped it would wear off!" But it didn't — argyria is permanent. Doctors suspect that it's not just his skin that's changed color — his internal organs are likely also blue.

6Bubble Girl (mast cell disease)

Brynn Duncan is not joking when she says she's allergic to life.

At just 20-years-old, Brynn has several chronic health conditions, one of which requires her to have a feeding tube. She is also one of the only people in the world to have a 24/7 Benadryl intravenous drip. She is, essentially, allergic to the world around her. Brynn is also wheelchair-bound a lot of the time, due to a condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (known as POTS) ?— ?which makes her faint if she stands for more than a few minutes.

Her more complex medical history is strewn with long sought-after diagnoses like Mast Cell Disease and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome — conditions that you've probably never heard of.

Scientists don't yet know what causes mast cell disease. Researchers have found mutations in mast cells that may cause the abnormal behavior, but they vary from one patient to the next.

7Real Life Elsa (Raynaud's disease)

Adorable Gracie Hughes has Raynaud's disease and turns blue when she is exposed to the cold. The blonde-haired youngster has even been given special gloves for extra protection, in stark similarity to the cartoon character Elsa.

Her mother, Laurie Hughes said, "Gracie absolutely loves Frozen, and when I noticed that she was a bit like Elsa, she thought it was brilliant." Gracie's condition means even normal activities, such as going outside, can become a challenge, and she's not allowed to eat ice cream or have very cold drinks. The two-year-old doesn't leave the house without dressing in several layers of thermals, two pairs of socks, and a hat and scarf, as well as her unique silver gloves.

Gracie, from Barry, South Wales, was diagnosed with Raynaud's when she was 16 months old. The condition occurs when small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to changes in temperature, interrupting the blood supply.

8Real Life Barbie (muscular dystrophy)

A lot of women choose to go under the knife in order to enhance their facial features and look like a doll. One woman became a human doll, not because she underwent extreme plastic surgery, but because of a serious medical condition.

Amber Guzman, a 28-year-old California woman, suffers from a debilitating genetic disorder known as muscular dystrophy. Her illness causes weakness and degeneration of the muscles. Amber can't walk long distances and needs to be carried like a doll. Because of her condition, she requires the assistance of another person when it comes to changing and dressing herself, sitting on a chair, and other basic day-to-day movement. She also has difficulty in swallowing and taking in food —  as a result, she is thin with a small frame.

Amber did not take her condition as something depressing. Instead, she dresses up and puts on makeup to resemble a doll. She then takes pictures of herself and posts them on social media sites. This is her way of helping raise awareness about muscular dystrophy.