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Patient Review Highlights
Some diseases like chicken pox, measles etc. have definitive symptoms that make it easy to diagnose. However, others like lupus affect each person in a different way making them complex diseases that may take longer to diagnose. Lupus attacks the immune system and causes the antibodies that would normally fight infection to react against the body’s own cells and tissues. There are two main forms of lupus; systemic lupus that affects any part of the body and cutaneous lupus that affects the skin. These can occur simultaneously or on their own.
Some of the rashes that can be caused by cutaneous lupus are:
- Malar rash or butterfly rash: This affects the face and appears as a butterfly shaped rash over the nose and cheeks. It is triggered by the sun’s uv rays and can appear as a faint blush or a severe, scaly rash.
- Discoid lupus: Lupus can also cause small. Coin shaped sores or rashes. These are reddish and scaly in appearance and usually affect parts of the body exposed to sunlight and uv radiation. If left untreated, these sores can worsen with time. Though they do not cause pain or itchiness, they can result in scarring. In cases where these sores develop on the scalp, they can cause permanent bald patches.
- Subacute cutaneous lesions: These can be described as small, red sores that are shaped like coins. These can be found on the arms, shoulders, neck and chest in patches that resemble psoriasis. These lesions are also triggered by uv exposure. Though they do not cause scarring, these lesions can lighten or darken skin.
- Mucous membrane lesions: Sores in the mouth or nose that have been triggered by lupus are known as mucous membrane lesions.
- Baldness: Lupus can make the hair follicles near the scalp fragile and brittle. This can destroy the hair follicles and lead to hair fall. In some cases, hair may grow back while in others it could result in permanent baldness.
- Cutaneous vasculitis lesions: These refer to purplish spots or lines on the calves and feet. This is caused by the inflammation of skin tissues and can cause severe damage and gangrene.
- Raynaud's phenomenon: When exposed to cold, the skin on your fingers and toes may also change colour to red, white or blue due to lupus. This is triggered by the tightening of blood vessels and may be accompanied by a tingling sensation or numbness. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.
Whether your complexion is fair or dark, almost everyone suffers from a rash at some point of time of the other. A rash can be described as a change in colour of texture of the skin. Most rashes are not life threatening. Skin rashes can be triggered by bacterial, vital or fungal infections and respond well to over the counter topical medication or oral antihistamines. May rashes are also triggered by a change in weather conditions and humidity or dry skin. However, there are some instances where a rash should not be ignored and a doctor should be consulted.
When a rash is accompanied by other symptoms
As a general rule of thumb, a rash that is accompanied by fever, muscle aches, crams etc should not be ignored. In such cases the rash is usually a symptom of a larger problem such as measles, scarlet fever and shingles or an allergic reaction.
Rashes that do not respond to medication
Rashes can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to completely heal but regular use of topical creams and oral antihistamines should how improvements in a day or two. Any rash that does not respond to topical ointments and continues to spread to other parts of your body must be shown to a doctor at once.
Most rashes are localized and restricted to a small area. Widespread rashes are usually a sign of allergies and need medical attention. Rashes that emerge suddenly should also be shown to a doctor as soon as possible.
While itchiness may be commonly associated with many types of rashes, pain is a symptom of a bigger problem. Painful rashes should be immediately shown to a doctor.
Rashes that become infected
Rashes that itch may cause scratching that can lead to added infections. Hence, ideally, a rash should never be scratched. Swelling, yellow or green discharge, crusting, warmth in the area around the rash and red streaks radiating out from the rash are signs of infections.
A rash that begins to blister
Most rashes only cause bump on the surface of the skin. If these bumps turn into blisters or open sores, medical attention should be immediately sought. This is especially necessary in cases where the rash is around the eyes, mouth or genitals. A blistering rash may be due to an allergic reaction, reaction to medication or an internal trigger. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist and ask a free question.
Most women love the idea of having healthy and silky skin that feels smooth to touch. However, due to a certain reasons, some women can have excessive, unwanted hair on their chest, hands and face. The pattern is similar to what is seen in men. This can be a major psychological problem. Read on to know more about some of the common reasons for this and how it can be managed:
Common causes behind it
Hair pattern is largely determined by genetic makeup and hirsutism is often caused by genes, hormones, or medication which is another main cause is the excessive amount of testosterone in women. Conditions like obesity, polycystic ovaries disease, ovarian tumours, adrenal tumours, Cushing’s syndrome and drugs like Danazol can cause excessive androgen hormones. Women with this condition may also have a deep voice, huge breasts, enlarged clitoris, severe acne and may also suffer from hair loss. These symptoms are collectively referred to as virilisation.
Ways to control hirsutism
The treatment is aimed at removing the unwanted hair and treating the underlying cause. A combination of medications and procedures can help in removing the excessive hair.
- Weight loss: Reducing weight makes the body produce less of the male hormone, and so hirsutism is controlled.
- Female hormone replacement: Birth control pills are a good choice for women who do not want to get pregnant. They control the androgen hormone production and reduce hair growth and other characteristics.
- Anti-androgens: Spironolactone is an anti-androgen which counters the effect of testosterone; however, these have side effects and self-medication is not advisable.
- Topical creams: The face is the major area of concern and so creams like eflornithine are useful to control hair growth on the face.
Depending on the patient’s severity of the problem and expectations, the following procedural options are available. While some of these can be done at home, others might require a visit to a doctor.
- Shaving: To be done repeated as and when the growth occurs.
- Tweezing: Isolated strands of hair can be removed with a tweezer.
- Waxing: This is useful in removing hair from large areas (chest, hands, etc.)
- Bleaching creams or lotions: The hair stays in place but is lightened in colour to give it a camouflaged appearance.
- Depilatory creams, lotions, or gels: These break down the hair follicles and prevent hair growth.
- Electrolysis: A small amount of electric current is applied to the hair follicle to destroy it, thereby controlling hair growth.
- Laser hair treatment: A small beam of highly concentrated light is applied to the affected area to damage the hair follicles and control hair growth.
Hirsutism is definitely not desirable, but there are definitely ways to manage the problems and get back to having a smooth, silky skin.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.