Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s disease. It is an infection lead by a bacteria which is called Mycobacterium leprae. These bacteria rise very slowly & it may take around 20 years for the signs of its infection to develop. The symptoms majorly affect skin nerves & mucous membranes which are the soft and moist areas inside our body’s openings. It is important to understand that early detection and timely treatment is key in leprosy.
Signs and Symptoms associated with Leprosy:
The disease can lead to below skin symptoms. A large, discolored lesion on the chest of an individual having leprosy.
- Discolored patches on the skin, generally flat which could be numb & look faded or lighter than the skin it is around with.
- Thick, dry or stiff skin
- Nodules or growths on the skin
- Painless ulcers in the soles of our feet
- Loss of eyelashes or eyebrows
- Painless lumps or swelling on earlobes or face
Symptoms which could be a result of nerve damage are:-
- Numbness of the affected part of skin
- Enlarged nerves, especially the ones around our elbow & knee & on the sides of our neck.
- Muscle weakness or even paralysis, especially in our hands and feet.
- Eye problems which could result in blindness when the facial nerves get affected
Enlarged nerves under our skin & dark reddish skin patches overlying our nerves affected by bacteria on the chest of the patient having leprosy. Such skin patch was numb.
Symptoms that resulted from disease in mucous membranes are:-
- Stuffy nose
Since leprosy affects our nerves, loss of feeling or sensation could take place. When loss of sensation takes place, injuries like burns may even go unnoticed. As we may not feel the pain which can warn us of the harm to our body, we shall take additional caution for ensuring that the affected areas of our body do not get injured.
Signs and Symptoms associated with Advanced Leprosy:
If it is left untreated, signs of advanced leprosy could occur which could include:-
- Paralysis & crippling of our hands & feet
- Chronic non-healing ulcers at the bottoms of our feet
- Shortening of our fingers and toes because of reabsorption
- Nose disfigurement
- Loss of eyebrows
Other complications which may sometimes take place are:-
- Tender or painful nerves
- Burning sensation on our skin
- Redness & pain across the affected part