TSC can affect any or all major organ systems, making its effects hard to track and understand.
Click on the links below to learn about how the disease can affect different systems in different ways.
Brain involvement is very common in people with TSC and is often the disorder's most pressing concern, having been linked to seizures, cognitive impairment, behavioral disorders, and other neurological complications. Fortunately, despite the fact that approximately 80 percent and possibly a higher percentage of people with TSC have brain involvement, it does not always have debilitating effects.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) may have significant effects on intelligence and other abilities critical to learning. As in all aspects of TSC, however, this can vary widely from one individual to the next.
Epilepsy is perhaps the most common medical condition of people with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Although estimates vary, at least 60 percent and possibly more than 90 percent of people with the disorder experience epileptic seizures at some point in their life.
Brain: Mental Health
People with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) have a much higher than average prevalence of neurological problems such as seizures and learning disabilities. Clinicians and researchers have found that people with TSC are also prone to a wide range of mental health and behavioral problems. These include hyperactivity, attention deficit, sleep disturbances, anxiety, aggressiveness, autistic behaviors, and depression.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) can cause benign tumors in any major organ, including the eye. Approximately 50 percent of people with TSC exhibit at least one tumor, or lesion, inside the eye. Often these occur on the surface of the retina, the innermost layer responsible for receiving outside visual stimuli and transmitting that information to the brain.
Benign tumors are a common manifestation of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Heart tumors that result from TSC are called cardiac rhabdomyomas. As their name suggests, rhabdomyomas are composed of tissue normally present in the heart (rhabdo), that grows in a disorganized mass (myoma). In this way they resemble other types of a general class of TSC-related tumors, called hamartomas.
Tumors, cysts, and other types of lesions of the kidney are common among people who have tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). In fact, kidney problems are the third most common manifestation of the disorder, after brain and skin lesions. Although many kidney abnormalities cause no symptoms, some have debilitating effects on kidney function and on the lives of people who have them.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) causes benign tumors and cysts to develop in many organ systems, including the lungs. Wherever such lesions occur in the body, they tend to crowd normal tissues and, in some cases, inhibit organ function. Lesions that form in the lungs can lead to a lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) that can profoundly compromise the lungs' ability to supply oxygen to the body.
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) causes benign tumors to grow in a number of different regions of the body, including the skin. Experts estimate that more than 90 percent of individuals with TSC exhibit one or more of five types of these skin abnormalities, which are benign and generally harmless. However, in some cases, they may cause physical discomfort and may be psychologically distressing to people who have them.
The organs most often affected by tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) are the brain, heart, skin, kidney, lung, and eye. These organs exhibit the most medically and diagnostically significant symptoms of the disorder and should be closely monitored in anyone diagnosed with TSC. However, TSC's effects are not necessarily limited to these organ systems.
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Glossary
Explanations of common terms you'll encounter when learning about TSC.
Make a Difference for the Herscot Center
Your support is vital to our progress as we move forward into the next generation of teaching, research and clinical care.