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(6) Skin Disorders

What are some examples of chronic disease that affect the skin?

What are some examples of chronic disease that affect the skin?

Atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, obesity, HIV, nicotine abuse, and congestive heart failure are examples of disease processes that can be detrimental to skin.

They are known to impede vascular efficiency and decrease immune responses, thereby reducing the body’s ability to heal.

What is photo aging?

Atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, obesity, HIV, nicotine abuse, and congestive heart failure are examples of disease processes that can be detrimental to skin.

Photo aging refers to the damage that is done to the skin from prolonged exposure (over a person’s lifetime) to ultraviolet radiation. Most of the skin changes that occur as we get older are accelerated by sun exposure. Examples include hyper pigmentation, wrinkles, poor elasticity, broken blood vessels, leathery skin, and skin cancers.

The visible effects of photo aging are changes that are usually associated with chronologic aging (calendar years); however, photo aging is not a good indicator of chronologic age because it may make a person look older than his or her chronologic age.

The three approaches to counter photo aging are as follows:

1. Avoid the midday sun.

2. Practice prevention by using photo protective agents such as sunscreen and clothing.

3.Use skin rejuvenation treatments.

What is the immune system, and how does it work?

The immune system helps to monitor and fight infection and prevent cancer. It includes specialized white blood cells-T cells, B cells, and neutrophils-that are always on call to help.

Your body’s immune system is like an army with millions of soldiers, ready to fight foreign substances such as germs and viruses in the body.

As we age, certain parts of the system diminish in vitality, and we have to be more alert to help boost the system to work at full capacity. In autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, the immune system is out of control and attacks healthy tissues.

Someone told me that gravity is one of the biggest problems for our skin. Is that true?

Yes, gravity is a law of nature and of facial skin. By the time we reach our 50s, our skin’s elasticity declines, and gravity’s effects show: the eyelids fall, jowls form, the tip of the nose droops, the ears elongate, the upper lip decreases, and the lower lip becomes more prominent.

I am overweight. How does this affect my skin?

Many skin diseases are shown to be worse with obesity, including psoriasis and stasis dermatitis. Losing weight is one of the more important ways to improve your health and help your skin.

Obesity is another extremely preventable disorder that if untreated can lead to medical complications, including orthopedic problems, metabolic disorders, disrupted sleep, a poorly functioning immune system, impaired mobility, increased blood pressure, hypertension, and psychosocial consequences from low self-esteem to depression.

Long-term consequences include cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers.

Skin complications related to obesity include:

• A decrease in cutaneous sensation

• Acanthosis nigricans

• Acrochordons

• Adiposis dolorosa and fat redistribution

• Lymphedema

• Candidiasis

• Cellulitis

• Chronic venous insufficiency

• Erythrasma

• Folliculitis

• Gas gangrene

• hidradenitis suppurativa

• Hyperandrogenism and hirsutism

• Insulin-resistance syndrome

• Intertrigo

• Leg ulcerations

• Necrotizing fasciitis

• Pilaris

• Plantar hyperkeratosis

• Psoriasis skin infections

• Striae distensae

• Tophaceous gout

Terms:

Immune system - Comprised of multiple organs and tissues working together to provide chemical and physical barriers to prevent disease. These barriers include the skin, saliva, and white blood cells.

Lupus - An autoimmune disease in which the body attacks is own tissues.

Cutaneous sensation - The sensory ability of the skin. This is more commonly referred to as the sense of touch.

Adiposis dolorosa - A condition also known as Dercum’s disease that is characterized by the formation of tumors in the fatty tissue of the body.

Lymphedema - Swelling of the extremities due to an obstruction in the lymph system that prevents the return of the lymph fluid to the body’s core.

Chronic venous insufficiency - A condition, in which the valves of the veins do not function properly, causes the pooling of blood in the lower extremities.

Hidradenitis suppurativa - This condition occurs in areas with a high density of apocrine sweat glands and around hair follicles in the groin and armpit.

Pilaris - A condition in which the skin of the arms and legs have small, hard, reddish pimples.

Plantar hyperkeratos - is the thickening of the bottom or sides of the feet.

Striae distensae - The condition commonly known as stretch marks occurs when the connective tissue of the skin cannot grow as rapidly as the underlying tissues.

Tophaceous gout - A chronic condition in which there is uric acid deposits throughout the body

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