Assessment of the sensory and physical limitations imposed by leprosy in a Brazilian Amazon Population.
INTRODUCTION: Leprosy often results in sensory and physical limitations. This study aimed to evaluate these limitations using a quantitative approach in leprosy patients in Belém (Pará, Brazil).
METHODS: This epidemiological, cross-sectional study measured the sensory impairment of smell and taste through the use of a questionnaire and evaluated activity limitations of daily life imposed by leprosy through the Screening of Activity Limitation and Safety Awareness (SALSA) Scale. Data were collected from 84 patients and associations between the degree of disability and clinical and epidemiological characteristics were assessed.
RESULTS: The majority of patients were men (64.3%), married (52.4%), age 31-40 years old (26.2%), had primary education (50%), and were independent laborers (36.9%). The multibacillary operational classification (81%), borderline clinical form (57.1%), and 0 degrees of physical disability (41.7%) were predominant. SALSA scores ranged from 17 to 59 points, and being without limitations was predominant (53.6%). The risk awareness score ranged from 0 to 8, with a score of 0 (no awareness of risk) being the most common (56%). Evaluation of smell and taste sensory sensitivities revealed that 70.2% did not experience these sensory changes. Patients with leprosy reactions were 7 times more likely to develop activity limitations, and those who had physical disabilities were approximately four times more likely to develop a clinical picture of activity limitations.
CONCLUSIONS: Most patients showed no sensory changes, but patients with leprosy reactions were significantly more likely to develop activity limitations. Finally, further studies should be performed, assessing a higher number of patients to confirm the present results.