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Neurosarcoidosis

  • Alternative Names

    Sarcoidosis - nervous system


    Symptoms

    Involvement of the pituitary gland can cause:

    • Changes in menstrual periods
    • Excessive tiredness (fatigue)
    • Excessive thirst
    • High urine output

    The symptoms vary. Any part of the nervous system can be affected. Involvement of the brain or cranial nerves can cause:

    • Confusion, disorientation
    • Decreased hearing
    • Dementia
    • Delirium
    • Dizziness or vertigo (abnormal sensation of movement)
    • Double vision or other vision problems
    • Facial palsy (weakness, drooping)
    • Headache
    • Loss of sense of smell
    • Loss of sense of taste, abnormal tastes
    • Psychiatric disturbances
    • Seizures
    • Speech impairment

    Involvement of one or more peripheral nerves can lead to:

    • Abnormal sensations in any body part
    • Loss of movement of any body part
    • Loss of sensation in any body part
    • Weakness of any body part

    Signs and tests

    An exam may show problems with one or more nerves.

    A history of sarcoidosis followed nerve-related symptoms highly suggests neurosarcoidosis. However, symptoms of the condition can mimic other medical disorders, including diabetes insipidus, hypopituitarism, optic neuritis, meningitis, and certain tumors.

    Blood tests are not very helpful in diagnosing the condition. A lumbar puncture may show signs of inflammation. Increased levels of angiotensin-converting enzyme may be found in the blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). However, this is not a reliable diagnostic test.

    MRI of the brain may be helpful. A chest x-ray often reveals signs of the sarcoidosis of the lungs. Nerve biopsy of affected nerve tissue confirms the disorder.