There are, in a sense, three classes of people you are likely to come across in life: the short, the average and the tall. But in the first and last classes (short and tall), there are people who go to the extremes. The short ones exhibit their extreme growth deficiency as dwarfism and the tall ones become giants.
Dwarfism is something that is usually permanent. Gigantism on the other hand is when a normal person suddenly keeps growing taller and taller due to an overstimulated thyroid or pituitary gland. However, there has been one known person that crossed from being a dwarf to becoming a giant. Meet the only man in history that was born a dwarf but died a giant.
Photo: Rainer next to an average-sized man.
That unfortunate individual is Adam Rainer (1899 – 4 March 1950). Not much is known about his personal life, as it was his unique medical condition that gave him recognition. But what little is known about him is truly mind-blowing.
Rainer was born to average-sized parents in Graz, Austria, and, growing up, he was rather short for his age because his height was well below 5 feet. For a person to be considered a dwarf, that person must be below the height of 4 feet, 10 inches; and by the time Rainer tried to join the army at age 18, he was rejected by doctors for having a height of only 4 feet and 6.3 inches.
His height at as a young man can be accurately ascertained via military records, especially since he applied again a year later at a height of 4 feet and 8.3 inches. But he still got turned down for being too short and weak. However, despite his small size, Rainer had rather large hands and feet, with his shoe size being 43.
Adam did not stop growing as had been previously thought, and by the age of 21 (which is when most people stop growing), he suddenly started growing very rapidly, and by age 32, he had attained a height of 7 feet and 2 inches. His wish for more height had become a curse.
Doctors who examined Rainer determined that he had a tumor on his pituitary gland that caused acromegaly (excessive growth). He suffered many problems as a result of this because his spine began to curve sideways the more he grew. He also became blind in his right eye while suffering poor vision in his left eye.
Additionally, he started to go deaf and exhibited other telltale symptoms of acromegaly, including widely spaced teeth, an elongated face as well as large and protruding forehead and jaw.
He underwent a surgery to remove the tumor and, although the operation was a success, he still continued to grow, although at a slower pace. His spine, too, continued to curve to the point that he became confined to his bed for the later part of his life, unable to move freely.
When he died at the age of 51, his height was 7 feet and 8 inches with a shoe size of 53, thereby making him the first and only person in recorded history to be classified as both a dwarf and a giant.
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