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Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: Skin Problems


 epalencar - Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:57 pm

For the past year or so I have developed what seems to be some type of skin disorder which is only present on my left forearm and upperarm. It is extremely rough, shiny, occasionally red or purple, and causes the hair on my arm to grow course and white and is easily pulled out. In some places on my arm it is only red blotches. Any ideas what this could be. Thanks.

Erik
 Carolyn Merritt, LPN - Tue Dec 28, 2004 8:55 pm

User avatar Dear epalencar:
It is possible you have psoriasis but only a visual inspection by a physician would give a definitive diagnosis. Here is an excerpt from The Doctor's Lounge about this disease:

"Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched. In the United States, it affects 2 to 2.6 percent of the population, or between 5.8 and 7.5 million people. Commonly affected areas include the scalp, elbows, knees, navel, and groin. Psoriasis is autoimmune in origin, and is not contagious. Around a quarter of people with psoriasis also suffer from psoriatic arthritis, which is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in its effects.

Causes
Psoriasis is driven by the immune system, especially involving a type of white blood cell called a T cell. Normally, T cells help protect the body against infection and disease. In the case of psoriasis, T cells are put into action by mistake and become so active that they trigger other immune responses, which lead to inflammation and to rapid turnover of skin cells. These cells pile up on the surface of the skin, forming itchy patches or plaques. The first outbreak of psoriasis is often triggered by emotional or mental stress or physical skin injury, but heredity is a major factor as well. In about one-third of the cases, there is a family history of psoriasis. Researchers have studied a large number of families affected by psoriasis and identified genes linked to the disease. (Genes govern every bodily function and determine the inherited traits passed from parent to child.) People with psoriasis may notice that there are times when their skin worsens, then improves. Conditions that may cause flareups include infections, stress, and changes in climate that dry the skin. Also, certain medicines, including lithium and beta blockers, which are prescribed for high blood pressure, may trigger an outbreak or worsen the disease."

It is important you have a physician diagnose this as it could also be other things other than psoriasis.
Regards,
Carolyn

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