Skin ailments could be serious: experts
Skin conditions could be a tell-tale sign for serious internal conditions. Healthcare experts in the UAE warn that skin should be observed for any abnormal discoloration or change in texture as changes could indicate potential liver diseases, metabolic conditions, or even cancer. Some of the more prevalent chronic conditions in the UAE, such as diabetes, obesity and hyperlipidemia, can also have skin signs that indicate their existence.
It is important to know how to spot these warning signs early so the internal disease can be successfully treated to avoid complication.
"Once the patient identifies skin changes they must immediately report to a certified dermatologist. In some cases, a clinical assessment would be sufficient for a diagnosis but, in others, further investigation, a laboratory evaluation and a skin biopsy may be necessary," says Dr Anwar Al Hammadi, Consultant, Head of Dermatology, Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
Dr Al Hammadi will discuss the skin conditions that could reveal serious internal diseases at the Internal Medicine conference at the Healthcare Recruitment & Training Fair that will take place from October 31 to November 2 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE.
One of the most common skin indicators is the appearance of yellowish discoloration of the skin which may be a sign of liver disease. Noticeable darkening of skin creases, sun-exposed areas, joints and old scars could be a sign of an adrenal disease, such as Addison’s disease. The bronzing of the skin in a diabetes patient can be a sign of an inherited defect in iron metabolism that leads to liver failure known as hemochromatosis. Any unusual rash or one that does not respond to treatment or is accompanied by fever, joint pain, muscle aches, or other symptoms could indicate an internal problem or the presence of an infection.
"Any change in skin texture also can indicate an underlying medical problem, for example, a common condition known as acanthosis nigricans is observed in overweight patients that appear as darkened, velvety skin occurring in skin folds and most commonly on the back of the neck. The appearance of this textural change in the skin could indicate the presence of early diabetes. In some cases, this skin change may be a sign of a cancerous tumour in an internal organ," said Dr Al Hammadi.
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