Skin Chronic Disease
Eczema is a general term for many types of skin inflammation, also known as dermatitis. The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis (some people use these two terms interchangeably). However, there are many different forms of eczema.
Eczema can affect people of any age, although the condition is most common in infants, and about 85% of people have an onset prior to 5 years of age. Eczema will permanently resolve by age 3 in about half of affected infants. In others, the condition tends to recur throughout life. People with eczema often have a family history of the condition or a family history of other allergic conditions, such as asthma or hay fever. Up to 20% of children and 1%-2% of adults are believed to have eczema. Eczema is slightly more common in girls than in boys. It occurs in people of all races.
Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected.
Causes of eczema :
Doctors do not know the exact cause of eczema, but a defect of the skin that impairs its function as a barrier, possibly combined with an abnormal function of the immune system, are believed to be an important factors. Studies have shown that in people with atopic dermatitis, there are gene defects that lead to abnormalities in certain proteins (such as filaggrin) that are important in maintaining the barrier of normal skin.
Some forms of eczema can be triggered by substances that come in contact with the skin, such as soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry, or sweat. Environmental allergens (substances that cause allergic reactions) may also cause outbreaks of eczema. Changes in temperature or humidity, or even psychological stress, can lead to outbreaks of eczema in some people.
Psoriasis is a common skin disease characterized by thickened patches of inflamed, red skin covered with thick, silvery scales. The elbows and knees are the most common areas affected by psoriasis. It will often appear in the same place on both sides of the body. The patches can range in size from smaller than a dime to larger than a hand.
Normally, skin cells mature and shed after about a month. In psoriasis, the cell maturation speeds up, taking only three to four days. Because the lower layer of skin cells divides more rapidly than normal, dead cells accumulate in thicker patches on the skin’s outermost layer (called the epidermis).
Vitiligo is a chronic skin disease that causes loss of pigment, resulting in irregular pale or white patches of skin. Common areas of the skin losing pigment are the face, lips, hands, arms, legs, and genital areas. Vitiligo occurs when the melanocytes die or are unable to function. However, the precise cause of vitiligo is complex and not fully understood.
Today, about 0.5 to 1 percent of the world’s population has Vitiligo. Most of the people who have vitiligo develop it before age 40; half the people develop it before their 20th birthday. Vitiligo affects individuals of all ethnic origins and both sexes; however, it is much more easily noticed on darker skin.
Vitiligo patches often occur symmetrically across both sides on the body. Occasionally small areas of the body may repigment as they are recolonised by melanocytes. Vitiligo may also be caused by stress that affects the immune system. The disturbed immune system may lead the body to react and start losing skin pigment. Vitiligo on the scalp may affect the color of the hair, leaving white patches or streaks and so affect facial and body hair.
Another name for the hives. Raised, itchy areas of skin that are usually a sign of an allergic reaction. Hives can be rounded or flat-topped but are always elevated above the surrounding skin. They reflect circumscribed dermal edema (local swelling of the skin). The hives are usually well circumscribed but may be coalescent and will blanch with pressure.
The hives typically last less than 4 hours but they may stay for days or weeks. Approximately 20% of the population has experienced a bout of urticaria.
The most common fungus infection of the nails is onychomycosis. Onychomycosis makes the nails look white and opaque, thickened, and brittle.
Those at increased risk for developing onychomycosis include :-
- People with diabetes
- People with disease of the small blood vessels (peripheral vascular disease)
- Older women (perhaps because estrogen deficiency increases the risk of infection)
- Women of any age who wear artificial nails (acrylic or “wraps”)
Artificial nails increase the risk for onychomycosis because, when an artificial nail is applied, the nail surface is usually abraded with an emery board damaging it, emery boards can carry infection, and water can collect under the artificial nail creating a moist, warm environment favorable for fungal growth.
Alternative names include tinea unguium and ringworm of the nails.
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