Former Dundee chef forced to quit work after his rare vascular disease diagnosed

A former chef had to give up work after being diagnosed with a rare vascular condition that has left him struggling to stand for longer than 10 minutes.

James Kenny, from Fintry, had made a successful career for himself in London before being given the news he had polyarteritis nodosa.

James Kenny at his home in Fintry

Currently affecting one in every 100,000 people, polyarteritis nodosa weakens and damages the small and medium-sized arteries in the body.

The disorder largely strikes in men between the ages of 40 and 50, affecting men more than women.

It was a condition that the 58-year-old knew nothing about prior to receiving the news.

James, originally from Douglas, had to leave his career behind after the diagnosis changed his life forever.

He said: “I’d never heard of the condition myself.

“I’d been living in Surrey when I suffered a drastic weight loss within a three-month period.

“They originally thought I had lung cancer because I had lost so much weight.

“There is no indication what has caused me to have this condition.

“It affects my immune system, joints and nerves as well.

“The doctor in Surrey said they had only seen two cases of it during their career at that point.”

James Kenny with documentation and medication for his rare condition

Scientists believe the condition is an autoimmune disease.

It causes the body to attack healthy tissue for an unknown reason.

Researchers believe the disorder is due to disturbances in the body’s immune system.

There is no exact cause for people contracting polyarteritis nodosa, also known as PAN, and there is no known cure.

James was diagnosed in his 40s and it has slowly taken away his independence in the years since.

He now relies heavily on the care of his family.

He uses walking aids and he is only able to stand for 10 minutes at a time.

James has suffered three strokes as a result and is now living in sheltered housing.

He added: “I’ve had to move back to Dundee to be nearer my family, who now help to look after me.”

James said that after doing his own research, there was a lack of funding to investigate the rare condition.

He added: “Part of the problem is the funding in place.

“It isn’t like cancer where it receives a lot of funding for research.

“With it being so rare there is also a lack of case studies to investigate it.

“There are no biological tests that can be done to detect the virus.

“It is a terminal condition although people can go into remission.

“Once it comes back it is likely to shorten the lifespan of the person affected.”

John Mills, chairman of the charity Vasculitis UK, said the condition can affect people differently depending on what organs are affected.

He said: “There are fewer than 100 cases of PAN in the UK.

“There are 18 different types of vaculitic disease with PAN being one of them.”

He added: “It is becoming an extremely rare disease.

“There are other parts of the world where it is more common to be affected by the condition.”