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Major Diagnostic Symptoms

Mouth ulcers
Nearly everyone, about 95% ( remember the other 5% are the exception to the rule ) with Behcet's suffer from these. Mouth sores (known as oral aphthosis and aphthous stomatitis) affect almost all patients with BehÁetís disease. They are often the first symptom that a person notices and may occur long before any other symptoms appear. The sores usually have a red border and several may appear at the same time. They can be painful and make eating difficult. Mouth sores go away in 10 to 14 days but often come back. Small sores usually heal without scarring, but larger ones may scar. These sores can also be present in the throat and digestive tract.

Genital ulcers
Affecting more that half of all people with BehÁetís disease, most genital sores appear on the scrotum in men and vulva in women (cervical, vaginal and labial ulcers may be painful in some women and may cause discharge). Men can have swollen or tender testicles, and can have swelling inside the scrotum sac (epidydimitis). The sores look similar to mouth sores and may be painful. After several outbreaks, they may cause scarring.

Skin problems
BehÁetís disease causes various skin sores that look like red bumps on a black-and-blue mark. The sores are red, raised, and typically appear on the legs and upper torso. In some people, sores or lesions may appear when the skin is scratched or pricked. When doctors suspect that a person may have BehÁetís disease, they may perform a test called pathergy (see below) in which they prick the skin with a small needle: 1 to 2 days after the test, people with BehÁetís disease may develop a bump where the doctor pricked the skin. Doctors disagree about the usefulness of a pathergy test because BehÁetís patients in the United States rarely have a skin reaction. However, more than half of the patients in Middle Eastern countries and Japan do have a reaction.

Eye problems
Inflammation of the middle part of the eye (the uvea), including the iris, occurs in more than half of all people with BehÁetís disease. This symptom is more common among men than women and typically begins within 2 years of the first symptoms. Eye inflammation can cause blurred vision and, rarely, pain and redness. Because partial loss of vision or blindness can result if the eye frequently becomes inflamed, patients should report these symptoms to their doctor immediately.
Prompt treatment is vital if you experience 'ANY' change in your vision. Some changes are not physically noticeable, and a quick and painless examination by an eye specialist can determine what, if any, activity is going on inside your eyes.
The two main symptoms are called Iritis (inflammation on the outside of the eye), or Uveitis (inflammation on the inside of the eye). One other thing to monitor is the eye pressure, (glaucoma) as the drops which may be prescribed can cause the eye pressure to increase.

A positive pathergy test

  • Whereby pricking the skin with a sterile needle or injecting a sterile saline solution under the skin will develop a small papule or pustule at the site of the prick or injection. This test is not always positive even when Behcets Disease and inflammation are active, but may be considered a positive sign or symptom when a positive reaction does occur.

    Other symptoms helpful in diagnosis:

    Joint problems
    Inflammation of the joints occurs in more than half of all patients with BehÁetís disease. Arthritis causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints, especially the knees, ankles, wrists, and elbows. Arthritis that results from BehÁetís disease usually lasts a few weeks and may not cause permanent damage to the joints.

    Bowel problems
    BehÁetís disease can cause inflammation and ulceration (sores) in the digestive tract and lead to stomach pain, diarrhoea, constipation, and vomiting. Because these symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other diseases of the digestive tract, such as a peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, and especially Crohnís disease, careful evaluation is essential.

    Depression and tiredness
    As is the case with most chronic diseases, the effects can make you feel depressed. Lethargy and exhaustion are also common symptoms. However, in my experience and contact with other sufferers, this does usually pass in time. I think it is caused by your body trying to fight the disease, and over the month the body becomes used to having the condition, and so your energy levels started to increase. Tiredness, is another of the bodies mechanisms, and in this case it is where the body is trying to repair itself. Sleep is the time when this process is carried out!

    Central Nervous system problems. (CNS)
    BehÁetís disease affects the central nervous system in about 10 percent of all patients with the disease. The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord and helps the body to co-ordinate movements and process information. BehÁetís disease can cause meningoencephalitisó inflammation of the brain and the thin membrane that covers and protects it. People with meningoencephalitis may have fever, headache, stiff neck, and difficulty co-ordinating movement, and should report any of these symptoms to their doctor immediately. If this condition is left untreated, a stroke can result.

    Should you notice any/or all of the following symptoms associated with CNS involvement, the symptoms should be reported to your physician/s immediately, no matter how recent or minor they may appear, as they can develop into something more serious and should be investigated as soon as possible, so that the effects can be reduced to a minimum.
    The CNS involvement in Behcet's can mimic Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Central Nervous system.
    1. Headaches. Can be in addition to having a stiff neck.
    2. The sensation of feeling light-headed and of experiencing weakness .
    3. Periods of blurred vision and difficulty in focusing.
    4. Confusion.
    5. Unexplained paralysis, numbness, disability of limbs, impairments and gross fatigue.
    6. Experience problems with your sense of balance and movement..

     

  • Thrombosis (Blood clots)
    A blood clot in the surface vein is called phlebitis. This is characterised by hot patches and areas in the infected limb. You may noticed the area looking red and it may be hot to the touch. It can also feel like a hot rod of iron is being passed through your vein.
    In the deeper veins the clot or clots are called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT'S). These are usually characterised by a deep throbbing pain alongside swelling of the limb involved. The swelling occurs because the circulation is being hindered. However in my case on two occasions, I did not experience any deep throbbing or pain, just the swelling of the limb.
    Both types of clots can appear anywhere where there is a blood supply, including the lungs, eyes and brain.

For a more detailed list of symptoms click here.

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