Wolfram syndrome is characterised by:
- diabetes insipidus - an inability to concentrate urine because of insufficient production of vasopressin (an antidiuretic hormone)
- diabetes mellitus - an inability to convert glucose into energy the body can use. Affected people can feel thirsty and pass lots of urine. Insulin injections are essential to treat this form of diabetes
- optic atrophy - nerve damage to the eye
- loss of hearing with a weakening of sound frequency, intensity, tone and pitch. This may be caused by damage to the optic nerve connecting each ear to the brain.
Other symptoms that are sometimes present in Wolfram syndrome include:
- chronic fatigue, persistent low levels of energy and a need for increased amounts of sleep
- a form of epilepsy characterised by sudden muscle jerks without loss of consciousness (myoclonus)
- urinary tract disorders, such as frequent urination, incontinence and bed wetting
- colour blindness (the inability to detect and identify colours accurately). This can occur early on and may be the first sign that there is a problem with the eyes
- emotional, behavioural and sometimes psychiatric disorders
- delayed sexual development, more common in boys
- digestive disorders, such as constipation or diarrhoea. Occasionally this can be severe swallowing problems. Dysfunctions in the autonomic nerves that control digestive functions may cause these symptoms
- neurological problems owing to damage to the nervous system causing a variety of malfunctions and disorders such as ataxia (tendency to lose balance), sudden muscle jerks, abnormal eye movements, breathing problems and dizziness.
This is a list of conditions that have been reported in patients with Wolfram syndrome; most patients do not get all of these conditions, and some patients experience very few of these.