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Neurocysticercosis and Getting Social Security Disability

Cysticercosis is a systemic parasitic infestation that is caused by the pork tapeworm that is referred to as Taenia solium (T. solium). The signs and symptoms that you have with this disease result from characteristic cysticerci (cysts) that form from Taenia solium.

The disease is called neurocysticercosis when it affects your central nervous system. Your central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord.

One of the most common things that results in adult-onset seizures all around the world is neurocysticercosis. It is the main cause of acquired epilepsy in developing and emerging countries and is the most prevalent disease of the central nervous system.

Increasing in the United States

Neurocysticercosis is rare in the United States. However, the number of cases is increasing due to immigration from emerging and developing countries.

As stated previously, neurocysticercosis is brought about by the tapeworm that is called Taenia solium. The primary areas where the disease occurs are in developing and emerging parts of the world. In places like the sub-Saharan area of Africa, Asia and Latin America, neurocysticercosis is at epidemic proportions.

Neurocysticercosis occurs when you eat eggs from the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium, which are found in contaminated food. One thing that needs to be made clear is that neurocysticercosis is not caused by eating pork that is undercooked. This disease comes as a result of eating undercooked or raw pork that is contaminated with the larval cysts of Taenia solium.

Swallowing the eggs

The larval cysts develop into adult tapeworms and make a huge number of eggs when they enter into your intestine. The eggs get passed in your stool. They then spread by means of surfaces, water or food that get contaminated from your stool. Neurocysticercosis develops when you swallow these eggs.

Neurocysticercosis has the feature of being able to take different forms. This is a mark of a pleomorphic disease. This ability of the disease results from variations in the number of parasites, your immune system response and the locations of the lesions that develop.

Neurocysticercosis may not cause you any signs or symptoms at all. On the other hand, you may have vague signs and symptoms like headache or dizziness.

The main sign

Epilepsy is the principal sign or symptom of neurocysticercosis. At the same time, epilepsy is also a complication of the disease. As mentioned earlier, neurocysticercosis is the leading cause of adult-onset epilepsy. It is also probably one of the main things that results in childhood epilepsy all around the world.

Other signs and symptoms of neurocysticercosis depend on the number and location of the cysts that are infecting you. These signs and symptoms may take months and years to show up after your incubation period (initial infection) with the disease. Possible signs and symptoms are:

Vomiting and nausea
An abnormal heart rhythm or experiencing heart failure
A lowered level of consciousness including drowsiness, apathy and listlessness (lethargy)
Numbness or weakness
Changes in the way that you walk
Changes that take place in your vision that may include a decrease in your vision or even blindness.

While neurocysticercosis is not listed in the list of impairments of the Social Security Administration, epilepsy is. If your neurocysticercosis has resulted in epilepsy and brought about your disability, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

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