What is Balo’s Disease?
Balo’s Disease, which is also sometimes referred to as a rare variant of Multiple Sclerosis, is a rare neurological condition which is quite similar to MS, but has some distinct characteristics which makes it different(1, 2, 5). Balo’s Disease, like Multiple Sclerosis, affects the tissues of the spinal cord and brain and damages it, causing lesions to occur in the brain and spinal cord.
Differences Between Multiple Sclerosis and Balo’s Disease
However, the basic difference between Multiple Sclerosis and Balo’s Disease is the characteristics of the lesions that develop. While in multiple sclerosis the lesions look more like spots or blotches, the lesions in Balo’s Disease look more like concentric rings, as seen on the MRI of the brain or spinal cord(3).
Also, people who have Multiple Sclerosis tend to have periods of remission where the symptoms are minimal along with periods of flare-up where the symptoms are at their peak; whereas in Balo’s Disease there is no letting off of symptoms and they tend to get worse with time as the disease progresses(5).
Epidemiology and Occurrence Rate of Balo’s Disease
Balo’s Disease is not that common in the United States, but is quite prevalent in areas of Asia like the Philippines or China(4). It affects both males and females equally and is seen to strike people who are in their 20s or 30s(5).To diagnose Balo’s Disease, it is important to identify the telltale signs and symptoms of this condition. This article gives a know how of some of the symptoms of Balo’s Disease.
What are the Symptoms of Balo’s Disease?
Pounding Headaches(5): The major symptoms of Balo’s Disease resemble that of Multiple Sclerosis to include frequent bouts of pounding headaches, which are not relieved by normal over-the-counter medications. These headache bouts tend to become worse with age and time.
Seizures(5): Adult onset seizure is also one of the primary symptoms of Balo’s Disease.
Pain & Weakness(5): An individual with Balo’s Disease will also complain of severe pain and weakness in the muscles especially of the upper and lower extremities to the point that it becomes a challenge to carry out basic activities of daily living. Over time and advancement of Balo’s Disease, the patient can even get paralyzed.
Difficulty in Articulation & Concentration(5): Another telltale sign of Balo’s Disease is problems with articulation, which is mild at first, but becomes significantly worse with time. The affected individual also has problems comprehending and maintaining focus on a task making significant errors while at work or at home.
Changes in Behavior: An individual with Balo’s Disease also will have drastic changes in behavioral pattern, which will become worse with time. If all these symptoms are present, then it can be presumed that the individual is battling Balo’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis, which can be detected easily on an MRI scan of the brain and spinal cord.
An MRI scan is a radiographic study that will show the characteristic lesions seen with Balo’s Disease and help diagnose it. The pattern of the lesions in Balo’s Disease will help differentiate from Multiple Sclerosis.