Diseases that causes rashes on the skin can trigger neurological problems

An interesting chapter titled “Acquired neurocutaneous disorders” which appeared last year discusses how diseases that cause rashes and skin problems can trigger neuroglical conditions such as migraine headaches and strokes. The article was published in Handbook of Clinical Neurology by three authors affiliated with the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The authors say that a variety of neurological diseases have skin related manifestations that precede, coincide with or follow neurologic findings. A few of the diseases described in the article that cause both skin and neurological problems are:

Sjögren syndrome. Sjögren syndrome is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissues. The most common skin problem Sjögren syndrome causes is xerosis which causes dull, itchy skin with a fine, white bran-like scale. Neurologic problems caused by Sjögren syndrome include aphasia (inability to talk or understand speech), hemiparesis (paralysis on one side of the body), and chorea (jerky, involuntary movements).

Lupus. Lupus can affect multiple organs and can cause a range of neurologic and psychiatric problems, including stroke, migraine headaches, and anxiety. Women are 10 times more likely than men to have lupus and it occurs a lot during the reproductive years. Around 70% to 80% of lupus patients have skin rashes and rashes on areas exposed to sunlight.

Parry-Romberg syndrome. Parry-Romberg syndrome is a progressive disease where the skin and soft tissues on half the face, usually the left side, deteriorate. The affected eye and cheek becomes sunken and facial hair can turn white. In addition, skin becomes dark, with patches of white skin lacking pigmentation.The syndrome can cause  such neurological impairments as epilepsy, migraines, and cognitive impairment.

Source: Amre Nouh, Jodi Speiser, José Biller. Acquired neurocutaneous disorders. Handb Clin Neurol., Volume 132, 2015, pages 29-73.

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