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What are some common symptoms of leukodystrophy?

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The symptoms from leukodystrophy depend on the type of leukodystrophy the person has, explains the United Leukodystrophy Foundation, but can include problems with movement, speech, vision and hearing. Symptoms of the disease vary due to the difference in the specific disorder's genetic cause. However, all leukodystrophies affect the nervous system.

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As of 2015, the United Leukodystrophy Foundation lists 40 different leukodystrophies. Leukodystrophy is a blanket term for a disorder that affects the myelin sheath of brain cells, explains MedlinePlus. Types of leukodystrophy include metachromatic leukodystrophy, adrenoleukodystrophy and globoid cell leukodystrophy, also known as Krabbe disease.

Metachromatic leukodystrophy is a disorder caused by the lack of the enzyme arylsulfatase A, states Healthline. Lack of this enzyme leads to excess sulfatides in cells, which causes damage to the kidneys and nervous system. Symptoms of metachromatic leukodystrophy include abnormal muscle movement, incontinence, frequent falls and seizures. Other possible symptoms are difficulties with speech and swallowing, loss of muscle control and decreased muscle tone.

Adrenoleukodystrophy is an inherited disorder that affects the nervous system and the adrenal glands, explains Healthline. Although there are three different types of adrenoleukodystrophy, some symptoms include impaired vision, weak muscles and coma.

Globoid cell leukodystrophy affects the central and peripheral nervous systems by causing globoid cells to form in the brain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Symptoms include irritability, fever, seizures and vomiting. The disorder usually affects infants, and infantile globoid cell leukodystrophy is often fatal before the age of two.

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