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Posts for category: Skin Conditions

By ATLANTA CENTER FOR DERMATOLOGY
December 03, 2018
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: Lupus   Sun Sensitivity  

Lupus can affect the skinFind out what this autoimmune disorder means for your skin health.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans and five million people globally have some form of lupus. While lupus can affect both men and women, about 90 percent of those with diagnosed lupus are women between the ages of 15 to 44. Even though this chronic autoimmune disease affects millions, significantly less than half of people are actually somewhat familiar with the disease. 

So, what exactly is lupus, how can you contract this disorder and what treatment options are available?

About Lupus

Our immune system is meant to attack foreign agents in our body to fight diseases and other infections. However, if you have been diagnosed with lupus then your immune system actually responds by attacking the healthy cells within your body. This ultimately causes damage to certain organs in the body like your heart, skin and brain.

There are different types of lupus; however, the most common form is systemic lupus erythematosis. Discoid lupus is known for causing a persistent skin rash, subacute cutaneous lupus causes skin sores when exposed to the sun, drug­induced lupus is the result of a certain medication and neonatal lupus affects infants.

Know that you aren’t alone when it comes to handling your lupus symptoms. While symptoms can be severe and affect your daily life talk to your dermatologist about the best ways to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Lupus Risk Factors

While anyone can develop lupus, women are more likely to develop this condition. Also, African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian women are at an increased risk over Caucasian women. While the cause is unknown, some research has found that perhaps genes play an influential role in the development of lupus; however, there are several factors that could be at play.

Lupus Symptoms

Those with lupus may experience some or all of these symptoms:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Skin rashes, most commonly found on the face
  • Fever
  • Chest pain when breathing deeply
  • Loss of hair
  • Pale fingers and toes
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Mouth sores
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Leg or eye swelling
  • Swollen glands

These symptoms may not be present all the time. Those with lupus have flare­ups in which the symptoms will appear for a little while and then go away. Also new symptoms may also arise at any time.

Lupus Treatments

If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus then you will most likely need to see several specialists regarding your condition. If you are dealing with skin sores and rashes, then you will want to talk to your dermatologist about the best treatment plan for you. About 40 to 70 percent of those with lupus experience symptoms when exposed to sunlight.

When you come in our office for treatment our goal is to find certain medications that can reduce pain, swelling and redness and prevent further flare­ups. Furthermore, we will recommend a sunscreen and other lifestyle changes that can help to protect your skin from damaging sun exposure.

By Atlanta Center for Dermatology
September 28, 2018
Category: Skin Conditions
Tags: Shingles   Chickenpox  

Shingles is a painful conditionWhat are the symptoms of and treatments for this painful dermatological condition?

Did you know that anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles, and that those over the age of 50 are more likely to develop this condition? Approximately one out of three Americans will have shingles at some point in their lives. Read on to learn more about this common problem.

What is shingles?

Shingles is caused by a virus known as the varicella¬≠zoster virus, which is the same virus known to cause chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox before the virus never truly goes away. Instead it lies dormant within the nerves of the spinal cord and brain. When the virus is reactivated, it manifests as shingles.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

The main symptom of shingles is a red, painful rash that usually appears on one side of the body. The rash may be tender to the touch and typically causes intense itching. The rash is made up of blisters that burst and crust over. Your rash may also be accompanied by malaise, fever, or headache.

What are the risk factors for shingles?

Anyone who has been infected by chickenpox can have shingles. However, this illness is more common in those over the age of 50 and the risk continues to increase as you age.

Also, those who have a weakened immune system due to certain chronic diseases like HIV, or those currently undergoing cancer treatment may be at an increased risk of developing shingles.

Different shingles treatments

While there is no cure for this disease there are antiviral medications you can take to promote faster healing and to reduce your risk of developing other complications. If you are experiencing severe pain, we may also recommend prescription pain medications or creams to help ease your symptoms. Most people experience shingles symptoms for about two to six weeks.

Can I prevent shingles?

There are two vaccines that we recommend for preventing shingles. The first is the chickenpox vaccine, which is recommended for children and any adults who have never had chickenpox. The second vaccine is the shingles vaccine. While these vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, they can greatly reduce your chances of developing shingles.

If your shingles rash has developed near your eye or is severely painful, then it’s time to see your dermatologist right away for treatment.