This disease is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion.
Hamartomas are focal malformations in tissue that resemble a neoplasm but are benign and grow at the same rate as surrounding tissues.
Phakoma, also known as retinal phakoma or astrocytic hamartoma, is a gray or yellow plaque, single or multiple, which may be found in the retina, or in or near the optic disc or at a distance from it. It is most often caused by tuberous sclerosis.
A large percentage of people with tuberous sclerosis have learning difficulties ranging from mild to severe mental retardation, usually as a result of growths of the brain. Lower IQ is associated with more brain involvement.
Seizures, which are defined as transient episodes of abnormal, excessive neuronal activity, are common in individuals with tuberous sclerosis due to growths of the brain, and are more often seen in children with this disease.
These tumors occur in about one out of ten individuals with tuberous sclerosis. This brain tumor is noncancerous but can be very problematic due to involvement of the brain. Subependymal refers to the region in the brain below the ependyma which lines the ventricles. Giant cells refer to large abnormal cells found on microscopic examination and astrocytoma refers to the most prevalent cell type. These tumors can grow and block the flow of CSF leading to increased pressure and hydrocephalus.
Adenoma sebaceum, also called facial angiofibromas, are reddish spots or bumps that appear in a butterfly distribution on the nose and cheeks and consist of blood vessels and fibrous tissues.
These are areas of leathery thick skin usually found on the lower back or neck. The skin can dimple like an orange peel and is a common finding in tuberous sclerosis.
Ash-leaf spots, also called hypomelanic macules, are white or lighter patches of skin on any part of the body caused by deficiency of melanin. Ash-leaf spots are often the only visible sign of this rare disease at birth.
Between 60 percent to 80 percent of individuals with tuberous sclerosis have angiomyolipomas on their kidneys. Angiomyolipomas are tumors composed of vascular tissue, smooth muscle, and fat. Although the growths are benign in nature, the tumors can become relatively large and be a risk for catastrophic hemorrhage.
Rhabdomyomas are benign tumors of striated muscle that are common in tuberous sclerosis. Problems due to this growth most often occur in utero or within the child's first year of life. The clinical presentation may include obstruction, arrhythmias, or murmurs. Most often, patients with cardiac rhabdomyomas as a result of tuberous sclerosis will display a mitral regurgitation murmur on physical exam. The development of this rare tumor can be a strong indicator of tuberous sclerosis in pediatric patients.
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