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“Come back when your fingers curl up”: This Norfolk man wants you to know about Viking disease

Hands of an man with Dupuytren contracture disease. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hands of an man with Dupuytren contracture disease. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

PeterTG

Thousands of Norfolk residents are proud to have been born and bred in the East of England for generations.

Dupuytren's disease. Photo: Wikipedia/ Frank C. MüllerDupuytren's disease. Photo: Wikipedia/ Frank C. Müller

But for the county which was originally settled on by Vikings, the area’s heritage is having a negative health effect on it’s residents.

Many people in Norfolk, and across the UK, suffer with Viking Disease, a fairly common hand condition which leads suffer’s fingers to bend inwards towards their palm.

As the name suggests, the disease was bought to the United Kingdom by the Vikings, and is also known as Dupuytren’s disease.

George Condron, 57, was diagnosed with the disease a year ago. He said: “I noticed a couple of lumps growing on my left hand. I didn’t know what they were so I didn’t bother with them. About a year later I talked to my GP and he said there is nothing to worry about it, come back when your fingers curl up and we will operate.”

Mr Condron, who lives in Fakenham, was disappointed not to have been offered any preemptive measures. He said: “I’m not prepared to wait until my hands don’t function when there are some therapies out there. I have now had radiotherapy, but my GP was reluctant.”

Vikings have now inspired the latest fundraising campaign for the British Dupuytren’s Society, who will be launching a virtual ‘clap’ across social media, encouraging users to donate and spread the message.

The idea came in the lead up to the World Cup, where Iceland fans will be performing the ‘Viking Clap’ at games.

Mr Condron says he hopes spreading word about the disease will help sufferers in the future.

He said: “I think we need to educate people about this, but how we do that I don’t know.

“We need people who have this disease to read about it and take action. I spoke to people who didn’t take it seriously until I had my treatment, but now they are.

“It is life changing, and even though you can have the operations there is no cure.”

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