Syphilis is an unusual infection whose signs and symptoms appear in four different stages that include primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. Primary symptoms of the infection include appearance of small, painless sores in and around the genitals. These sores can also appear around the oral cavity in case of oral sex. Secondary symptoms appear 2-10 weeks after primary symptoms and these includes rashes on different parts of the body, fever, fatigue, body aches and soreness. These symptoms tend to disappear after 2-3 weeks. If left untreated, syphilis can enter a latent phase, which is most asymptomatic. Tertiary stage of a syphilis infection is really dreadful that includes damage to the internal organs, neurological problems such as meningitis, paralysis and dementia. Cardiovascular problems such as inflammation of the aorta, aortic valve stenosis and aneurysm also occur at this stage.
Another serious health complication that occurs during the tertiary stage of a syphilis infection is a stroke. A stroke is a neurological problem characterized by blockage of blood supply through arteries to any part of the brain. This can result in serious tissue damage inside the brain. Noticeable symptoms of stroke include headache, vertigo, behavioral changes and irritability. Other prominent symptoms are numbness, abnormal sensations, paralysis, aphasia, agnosia, dementia, loss of coordination, urinary incontinence, lack of control over bowels, difficulties in swallowing, fatigue and loss of consciousness. Diagnosis of a stroke due to syphilis is done by means of CT or MRI scans. Physicians can also conduct an angiography of the head or neck to analyze the extent of blockage in the artery.
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