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Neurology and Neuroscience

Behcet's Disease

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About Behcet's Disease

Behcet's disease is a very rare, chronic inflammatory disease whose cause is not well understood. People with Behcet's disease develop recurrent ulcerations in the mouth and on the genitals, and lesions elsewhere on the skin; arthritis; and inflammation of the eye and bowel. When the disease affects the central nervous system, people can develop meningitis (inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord), cranial nerve palsies, memory loss, and impaired speech, balance, and movement. Behcet's is less common in the United States than in the Middle East and Asia.

Diagnosis of Behcet's Disease

Behcet's disease can be difficult to diagnose. There is no definitive test for the disease, and a diagnosis is based on key symptoms of the disease, which can take several months or even years to appear. Symptoms that are key to a diagnosis include:

  • Mouth sores at least three times in 12 months
  • Any two of the following symptoms: recurring genital sores, eye inflammation with loss of vision, characteristic skin lesions, or positive pathergy (skin prick test)

Medical Treatment for Behcet's Disease

Doctors treat Bechet's disease with corticosteroids, which suppress the immune system and reduce swelling.

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