Well hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderfully relaxing holiday with friends and family and are now ready to embark on the new year! I had some time over the holiday's to write some awesome blog posts for you guys, so please let me know what you think of them!
In past blog posts I have covered uncommon complications of Neurofibromatosis, but I have yet to cover the most common complications.... so here we go! Here is a list of the most common complications seen in people with Neurofibromatosis.
Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine that is seen in 16-36% of people living with Neurofibromatosis. Instead of the spine being in a straight line, people with scoliosis have a spine that is shaped like a "C" or an "S". Scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning that researchers and medical professionals do not know what causes it. Typically scoliosis in children with NF is mild, but there are cases that are severe and require corrective surgery. Treatment for mild scoliosis includes the use of a brace to prevent progression of the curve in the spine.
** I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 13, and luckily have never required treatment for the 20 degree curve in my spine **
2. Lisch Nodules
Lisch nodules are benign tumors that grow on the iris of the eye and are seen in approximately 92% of individuals living with Neurofibromatosis. Usually lisch nodules are clear to yellow/brown in colour and can be seen without any kind of magnification. Lisch nodules do not affect vision in any way, and therefore do not require any kind of treatment.
3. Cafe-au-lait Spots
Having more than 6 cafe-au-lait spots larger than 5 mm is one of the diagnostic criteria of Neurofibromatosis Type-1. Cafe-au-lait spots are hyperpigmented areas of skin, which means that the colour of these lesions is much darker than that of the surrounding skin. These skin lesions often develop in early infancy, but typically become visible after the age of 2 years old. It is estimated that 95% of people with NF have this complication, which makes it the most common symptom seen in Neurofibromatosis.
Neurofibromatosis frequently causes bones to grow abnormally, and the most common bone that is affected is the tibia (shin bone). The first sign of the disease is bowing of the tibia, which usually occurs before the age of 2. The bowing of the tibia makes it more prone to a break or to a fracture. Typically these fractures or breaks do not heal well and can lead to something called pseudoarthrosis (which is a persistent fracture). This complication of NF is very hard to treat and typically requires surgery.
5. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is seen in approximately 15% of people living with NF, and is most often due to stenosis or "narrowing of an artery or vessel"
6. Large Head Circumference
Occasionally this can be caused by a condition called hydrocephalus (which means there is fluid on the brain), but typically the cause for a large head circumference is unknown.
Thanks for reading, there will be more specific information coming soon on some of the more common complications from NF!