You know how hard living can make someone look or two or even three times their age? Well in the curious case of this Vietnamese woman, the rapid aging took course in only a few days and had nothing to do with her lifestyle.

In 2008, 23-year-old Nguyen Thi Phuong began to age at an uncanny pace, as the skin all over her face and body began to sag. In only a matter of days, Phuong appeared to have aged about 50 years. Doctors are confused over the condition, but some believe she has lipodystrophy, which causes the fatty tissue beneath the surface of the skin to pretty much disintegrate while the skin continues to grow quickly. The condition has no cure and only 2,000 people throughout the world are believed to have it.

Now 26, Phuong says she is allergic to seafood and had a pretty bad reaction around the same time the aging began. Because she and her husband were too poor to afford treatment at a hospital, she was forced to buy medicine at a local pharmacy. After about a month of use, she still had hives but the itching had stopped. After using traditional medicine, she says the hives went away but her skin began to sag.

Phuong only recently stopped wearing a mask in public as a result of her condition. The lone upside here is that the recent media attention has compelled many a doctor to offer her free consultation. Doctor Hoang Van Minh believes she is suffering from Mastocytosis, which is caused by too many mast cells. While there is no cure for Mastocytosis, Minh claims his treatment plan can restore anywhere from 50-70 percent of her skin and laser therapy could ease the folds.

[via The Sun]