We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Symptoms of Tabes?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Tabes dorsalis is a medical condition that results from syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease, when it is left untreated. According to the United States Center for Disease Control, about 7,000 cases of syphilis were reported in the United States in 2001. About 5% of these patients went on to develop tabes dorsalis.

Tabes dorsalis typically manifests about fifteen to twenty years after the patient becomes infected with syphilis. Individuals with immunity dysfunctions, such as those associated with Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), usually develop tabes dorsalis much sooner. In addition, the condition is more common in middle aged males, as well as in homosexuals. Certain areas of the United States, such as the southern portion and the inner city areas of San Francisco and New York, also have more prevalent cases of tabes dorsalis.

When a person first becomes infected with syphilis, the bacteria causing the disease spreads through the blood stream to the spinal cord and the brain. It can, however, go for years without any symptoms. Over time, this leads to a neurological disorder called neurosyphilis when it is left untrated. This results in damage to the spinal cord. This damage is called tabes dorsalis.

An individual with tabes dorsalis experiences inflammation in the dorsal column portion of the spinal cord, which is the part of the cord located nearest to the back. This causes the nerve cells to degenerate and may also affect other nerves in the body, such as those that control hearing, vision, eye movement, and bladder and bowel control.

As a result of the nerve damage caused by tabes dorsalis, a victim of the disorder may experience a variety of symptoms. These can include an unsteady walk, reduced reflexes, and general weakness. A person with tabes dorsalis may also experience visual impairment, dementia, personality changes, and deafness. Those affected may also have difficulty responding appropriately to light and may experience a loss of coordination and moments of severe pain.

The pain experienced by those with tabes dorsalis is often described as a stabbing-like pain that comes on very quickly. It most often occurs in the legs, though it may also appear in other areas of the body. Individuals with tabes dorsalis also experience other odd sensations, such as burning, tingling, or a sense of coldness.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.