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Devic's disease

Complications of neuromyelitis optica
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Particularly severe cases of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) can result in:

  • permanent loss of vision as a result of damage to the optic nerve
  • paralysis in all four limbs due to damage to the spinal cord in the neck, which may mean you will require a wheelchair
  • breathing difficulties due to muscle weakness which, in extreme cases will require artificial ventilation (a machine that helps you breathe)
  • osteoporosis (brittle bones) - this may be the result of long-term use of steroid medication, or a lack of weight-bearing activities
  • sexual dysfunction - men may experience difficulty getting an erection, or reaching orgasm, and women may also have difficulty reaching orgasm
  • depression - changes in lifestyle associated with the complications of NMO can increase the risk of developing depression

Spinal cord
The spinal cord is a column of nervous tissue located in the spinal column. It sends messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Optic nerve
The nerve that connects your eye to your brain.

Last reviewed: 23/03/2010
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Last modified: Oct 2016