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Jul 30, 2009

(from Care2's Healthy & Green Living)
If skin were merely a sausage casing for the rest of you, it wouldn't be nearly so useful, but your skin (being your body's largest organ) may be the first indicator of something happening.
First Five Skin Conditions to Watch Out For:
1.  Yellowish skin, orange palms and soles

What it means:
Skin hues of carotenemia can be the result of an underactive thyroid gland — hypothyroidism — which causes increased levels of beta-carotene in the blood.
But orange-coloured skin from a diet heavy on carrot juice, carrots, sweet potato etc, isn't serious.
More clues of Hypothyroidism:
==> skin feels dry and cold, more pale than yellow
==> feeling tired, sluggish, weak, or achy
==> unexplained weight gain
==> women over 50 most often develop hypothyroidism
What to do: 
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that can lead to such complications as heart problems, so a combination of skin changes plus fatigue warrants attention from a doctor.
2.  Breaking out in hives in the sun
What it means
==> may have taken a photosensitizing drug (medication that causes increase in sensitivity to light). 
More clues:
==> rash is limited to sun-exposed areas
==> can feel worse and last longer than sunburn
==> affects both fair-skinned or dark-skinned
==> most common drugs involved: thiazide diuretics, antihistamines, tetracycline, tretinoin, and tricyclic antidepressants.
==> 2 different people can react quite differently to the same drug, and reactions may vary for an individual
What to do:
==> check labels of medications. e.g. “May cause chemical photosensitivity.”
==> use a high-SPF sunscreen/block (but be aware that this may not prevent the rash); wear sunglasses, a broad-rimmed hat, cover the skin, and limit sun exposure.
==> tell your doctor- a switch in medicines may prevent further rashes.
3.  Long dark lines in the palm
What it means:
A deepening of the pigment in the creases of the palms or soles is a symptom of adrenal insufficiency, an endocrine disorder (Addison’s disease).
More clues:
==> Hyperpigmentation may be visible around other skin folds, scars, lips, knees, knuckles.
==> Low blood pressure; Salt craving
==> Affects men and women equally-most common between 30-50yrs
What to do:
==> mention this visible symptom to a doctor, as skin changes may be the first symptoms seen before an acute attack (pain, vomiting, dehydration, and loss of consciousness)
==> lab tests to measure cortisol provide a diagnosis.
4.  Large, dusky blue leg veins
What it means
Veins are not working properly when they're ropy, large and blue-to-purple. Venous disease (varicose veins) can be a mere cosmetic annoyance or can cause pain, cramping, and difficulty walking.
More clues: Varicose veins:
==> may be mistaken for spider veins (shallow small blue or red veins)
==> tend to be large, dark, raised, and 'twisted' 
==> are found in half of all people over age 50, esp. women
==> often first appear in pregnancy
What to do:
==> exercise, wear compression stockings, and avoid constricting postures to ease discomfort
==> if the veins cause pain or become warm and tender to the touch, tell your doctor- severe venous insufficiency can lead to dangerous blood clots.
==> treatments include sclerotherapy (injections) and surgery.
5.  Brownish spots on the shins
What it means:
The fronts of the legs along the shins tend to bang and bump into things... in diabetes, the damage to the capillaries and small blood vessels will cause them to leak when traumatized, leading to brown discoloration known as diabetic dermopathy.
More clues:
==> patches may be rough, almost scaly
==> tend to form ovals or circles
> they don’t hurt
==> open, unhealed sore on the foot
What to do
==> brownish spots aren't dangerous, no need for treatment
But it’s worth checking for other signs of diabetes i.e.
==> thirst, excessive urination, tiredness, or blurry vision.
to be continued in PART b

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Posted: Jul 30, 2009 11:47pm


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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