Pellagra disease - Symptoms - Signs

Pellagra disease - Symptoms and signs

Pellagra disease caused signs and symptoms manifest on skin, gastrointestinal system, mucous membranes, muscular and skeletal system, nervous system and vascular and renal system.

Early symptoms of Pellagra

Early signs and symptoms of pellagra manifest as loss of weight, weakness, fatigue, muscular and joint pains, backache, lassitude, headache, anxiety, irritability, depression, loss of appetite, indigestion, constipation, and skin lesions and rashes without any obvious causes.

Symptoms of pellagra disease on skin

Initial symptoms manifests as skin inflammations, lesions and rash with itching and burning sensation. Photodermatitis is one of the typical signs of the disease. The areas of skin exposed to sunlight become red and inflamed and show symptoms of sunburn. Later even heat and friction causes inflammation and dermatitis. The skin becomes dry and scaly. Further the edge between the rash and the unaffected skin is clearly demarcated.

The pellagra caused erythema may occur anywhere on the body where it is exposed to sunlight, friction or heat. The common regions of dermatitis are hands, arms, face, exposed neck, feet and lower legs. On the face of the affected patient, the sun exposed forehead, cheeks and nose get inflamed. The lips may also get inflamed and bleed; typical symptoms.

Depending upon the type of dress and exposure, the neck gets affected by the disease. The lesions on the exposed back of the hands of the patient appear like gloves. The exposed legs and feet are affected up to the edge of the pants or skirts by pellagra. The pressure points and genitals also may be affected by dermatitis.

In the later stages of pellagra, the skin becomes thick, scaly, hard and cracked. The skin becomes brown and dark with scaly dermatitis, bleeding at the blackened crusts and sloughing off at places. These areas of skin get easily infected and weeping sores appear. Further in this disease alopecia (loss of hair) are caused by pellagra. Angular stomatitis and Cheilosis are sometimes encountered as symptoms of niacin deficiency. swollen tongue and dermatitis on hands are symptoms and signs of pellagra
Photo dermatitis on hands and swollen tongue are symptoms and sign of pellagra disease (enlarge)

Symptoms and signs of disease on mucous membranes

The typical symptoms of pellagra on mucous membranes like mouth, tongue, nasal passage and in some cases vagina are that they become sore, red, thick, inflamed and swollen. Acute pain and burning sensation is experienced.

Signs of pellagra disease on the gastrointestinal system

Initially pellagra causes on the gastrointestinal system are excessive salivation, anorexia (lack of appetite), dyspepsia (indigestion), burning sensation in the throat, constipation and diarrhea. With the development of extremely painful sores and swelling in the mouth and the tongue the affected person will not able eat food properly leading to further .

Later signs like abdominal pain, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with intestinal bleeding may follow if the deficiency of vitamin B3 (niacin) is not corrected. Gastritis and bloody diarrhea lead to infections and the patient may get dehydrated and become anaemic.

Signs of pellagra on the nervous system

The initial effect of pellagra disease on the central nervous system are insomnia (sleeplessness), anxiety, depression and apathy (indifference). The next stage of signs of pellagra are aggressive behaviour, headache, forgetfulness, progressive memory loss, confusion, disorientation, delusions, neuritis (inflammation of the nerves, paranoia (mental derangement) psychosis, and hallucinations (illusion of seeing and hearing things which are not present). The final stage signs of pellagra disease are delirium, dementia, tremor, stupor and coma.

Signs of pellagra on skeleto-muscular systems

In severe condition of pellagra disease symptoms like stiffness and inability to move arms and legs sets in. The patients also show signs like involuntary grasping and sucking movements , ataxia (lacking control over muscular movements) and fluid retention.

Pellagra disease, if not treated with therapeutic doses of vitamin B3 can become fatal. If not treated early, the signs and symptoms pellagra may not totally disappear.
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Signs and symptoms of pellagra disease.

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