What are the symptoms of advanced leprosy?

Updated: Aug 24, 2018
  • Author: Darvin Scott Smith, MD, MSc, DTM&H; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Hoarseness, loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, and nasal collapse secondary to septa perforation may occur in advanced cases of disease. Involvement of the eye may include keratitis, glaucoma, or iridocyclitis as seen in the image below.

Man with advanced deformities caused by unmanaged Man with advanced deformities caused by unmanaged leprosy. Keratitis, loss of eyebrow, thickened skin, and typical hand impairments. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Courtesy of D. Scott Smith, MD.

The leonine facies associated with leprosy develop as the disease progresses, and the facial skin becomes thickened and corrugated.

Axillary and inguinal adenopathy may develop, in addition to scarring of the testes and subsequent gynecomastia and sterility.

Nerve involvement in lepromatous leprosy is not as severe as in tuberculoid leprosy, since nerves, although visibly thickened and highly infected, still function reasonably well in early stages of the disease.


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