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Identifying Explaining Managing Supporting Consultation Video
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How do I know if I have it?
Dr. Korf talks about Hannah's café-au-lait spots, an early sign of the disorder.
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Expert Interview
Dr. Korf describes the typical early signs of the disorder.
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Personal Story
Miguel talks about Andres' initial symptoms.
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While NF1 has many features, the appearance of multiple flat, brown skin spots called café-au-lait spots is the most common sign. Café-au-lait spots are named from the French term "coffee with milk" because of their coloring, which is typically at least a shade darker than the general pigmentation of the skin. The spots commonly appear in the first few months of life and may continue to increase in number for several years. They are harmless and easily mistaken as mere "birthmarks." Indeed, anyone can have one or two café-au-lait spots without having NF1; their appearance only suggests the possibility of NF1.

Because people with NF1 often have multiple café-au-lait spots, the disorder should be suspected in someone with six or more spots, at least five millimeters in size before puberty and 15 millimeters in size after puberty. There is no relationship between the number of café-au-lait spots and the severity and prognosis of the disorder in a person.