In my Clinical Medicine class, we are learning all about skin diseases and lesions.
Skin is probably the most difficult organ to treat (aside from the brain, maybe?), one because it is so large and has many roles. Skin is responsible for sensation, for hormone production (vitamin D), for detoxification, it shows the integrity of the digestive tract, it is responsible for the emotional development of babies (skin to skin contact is important), to name a few roles. Also, because skin is hard to treat because it is interconnected to almost every other system and organ in the body. Bowels not eliminating properly? Skin issue (e.g. rash, eczema, acne, etc). Overburdened liver? Skin issue (e.g. jaundice, dull skin). Toxic bloodstream? Skin issue (e.g. eczema, acne). Compromised lungs? Skin issue. Gall bladder malfunctioning? Skin issue (e.g. jaundice). Pancreas disturbed? Skin issue (e.g. diabetic ulcers). Mental emotional concern? Skin issue (e.g. eczema, psorasis). Immune system under or overreacting? Skin issue (e.g. inflammation, worts, hives, psorasis)... the list goes on and on (and the number of examples provided is nowhere near an exhaustive list).
In my physical exam tutorial, also known as PCD (Physical and Clinical Diagnosis), we are learning how to preform proper skin examinations. We have learned to assess skin color, mobility, temperature, texture, hair quality and quantity, condition of the nails, to check for pallor, jaundice, cirrhosis, melanoma, and turgor (to name a few).
We've also discussed melanoma quite a bit. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer and is the most deadly type. Melanocytes, which are the cells responsible for our skin color or pigment (aka melanin), become cancerous. If a patient has a particular mole or skin lesion that may resemble melanoma, a clinician is to assess the ABCDEs of the mole or lesion.
A for asymmetry. Is the mole or lesion asymmetrical?
B for borders. Does the mole or lesion have defined borders?
C for color. Is the mole or lesion of different color than normal skin tone?
D for diameter. Is the mole or lesion getting bigger?
E for elevation (or evolution). Is the mole or lesion raised (or has it been changing/evolving over time?)?
Disclaimer: Now, just because I have (and will be) posting some of the details of medical physical examinations on the blog, this does not mean that you (the reader(s)) can use them to start assessing and diagnosing yourself. Nevertheless, it is so important to be aware of your body and to take time to assess your health on a daily basis. If you are concerned with a particular sign, symptom, or body change, please consult a health care professional to have a proper physical examination preformed. Remember, I am just discussing some of the details on the blog, meaning that there is a lot that I am leaving out that may be important in the diagnosis and/or healing of your particular concern.
P.S. On Sunday, I spent another day at the vegetarian food festival. I stocked-up on more great deals (it was truly a health conscious and food-loving individual's paradise). Also, I may-or-may-not have had a big Xmas gift purchased for me at the fair (much to my protest). But shhh! Don't say a peep. But in the meantime, let's just say that I am eagerly anticipating late December when I can blog all about this fun gift.