A Texas baby has become a TikTok star after his mother shared photos and videos of her son with this thick, dark, and excessive body hair. Bri Shelby's videos of Mateo have earned over 91 million views, as many of her followers are left fascinated by the baby's small and hairy body.
Shelby revealed that Mateo has congenital hyperinsulinism. This means that his pancreas produces high levels of insulin that could lead to hypoglycemia. Only 1 in 25,000 to 50,000 babies develop this rare condition, and its crucial effects may be prevented if caught early during the baby's first few months of life.
Lucky for Mateo and his parents, the doctors caught his congenital hyperinsulinism early, so they were able to plan out his treatments using diazoxide. While medication reduced Mateo's risk of having seizures, breathing problems, and other complications, he developed this unusual side effect of excessive body hair.
Maximum Dose of Diazoxide
The mother revealed that Mateo had to be given the maximum dose of his medication for his age because "his body wasn't responding to the lower doses." If the treatments won't help, Mateo would likely require surgery to remove his pancreas, which would significantly impact his life.
The doctors informed Shelby and her husband, Jared Hernandez, that one of the side effects of Mateo's medication might be hair growth. However, the parents were not expecting this would be excessive body hair. They started noticing the unusual side effect two weeks into the treatment.
Shelby said that Mateo was a bald baby at birth, and adjusting to his appearance was quite challenging. However, his condition has been improving, thanks to the medication. Despite the surprising reactions they get, the mother said that she would rather have a hairy but healthy baby than a child who is too sick to have a normal life.
While she knows how cruel social media can be, Shelby said she wants to keep documenting Mateo's progress. She was also documenting her pregnancy on TikTok before they learned that their son would have a rare disease.
What is Congenital Hyperinsulinism?
The parents noticed Mateo's symptoms weeks after his birth. The baby kept shaking and was overeating, so they brought him for a check-up, and the doctors found out that his blood sugar was dangerously low.
Mateo was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of the Texas Children's Hospital for two months, where doctors kept his insulin under control. According to the experts, Mateo will be able to outgrow his condition with continuous treatments, and once he's off medication, he will lose excessive body hair.
According to the Texas Children's Hospital, congenital hyperinsulinism happens due to a change in the genetic code, which may either be inherited or occurring spontaneously (not transmitted). Additional genetic testings among the baby and his parents may help doctors identity the particular mutated gene.
The condition may be harder to diagnose since the common symptoms are similar to typical baby behaviors like irritability, hunger, and sleepiness. However, babies with congenital hyperinsulinism also manifest rapid heart rate and extremely low blood sugar, which happened to Mateo. In severe cases, symptoms may include seizures and coma.
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