Itching or itchy skin or the head is a symptom that can translate into skin problems or reflect alterations in other organs.
An unexplained itchy skin should not be underestimated because it can be a sign of serious illnesses. The study of pruritus initially corresponds to the family doctor or dermatologist but also an internist. You should go to them if you have an inexplicable itch.
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The dermatological problem that most often causes itching is dry skin, for example, in the elderly. A long list of dermatoses is associated with itching or itching of the skin: atopic dermatitis, hives, psoriasis or scabies, among many others. Some show signs that are easy for a dermatologist to recognize, but others may show very subtle signs or even no visible lesions. In some cases, the doctor may need to perform a skin biopsy for diagnosis.
Alterations can cause itching in the liver or bile ducts, kidney, or other organs such as the thyroid, parathyroid, or blood. For example, simple anemia (lack of red blood cells) due to lack of iron can cause itchy skin or itching. Some cancers, such as lymphomas (cancers of the lymph nodes), can present with itching as the only symptom, sometimes for months or years. Diabetes can also debut with itching or skin infections. All this means that itching should not be considered a banal symptom. Still, it is necessary to study it with a thorough questioning or anamnesis of the patient and with the appropriate complementary tests (blood or urine analytics and imaging tests such as X-rays).
Indeed, itching or itching of the skin can manifest psychological disorders, such as anxiety, depression or psychosis. The most typical example is a fairly common disease, prurigo nodularis, in which patients develop itching and extremely disabling lesions from excoriation and scratching. They cannot fall asleep, and their quality of life is greatly affected, turning to itch and scratching into a vicious cycle from which it is difficult to escape. Ideally, this disease should be addressed through collaboration between psychiatrists, psychologists, and dermatologists.
Chronically itchy patients suffer from anxiety, inability to sleep, and impaired quality of life, to degrees that are similar to chronic pain patients. That is why it is important to find the cause of the itch and treat it and use medications that effectively control the symptoms and break the cycle of itching and scratching that chronicles the disease.
Logically, the idea is to find a cause of the itchy skin (liver or kidney disorder, diabetes, lymphoma, etc.) and treat it. In cases in which a specific treatment is needed, it is necessary to resort to topical treatments, antihistamines, immunosuppressants, or phototherapy. The specialist who dominates this range of treatments is the dermatologist.
When the itching or itching of the skin is caused by dry skin, for example, in children with atopic skin or the elderly with poor hydration, treatment with soaps without detergents and moisturizing creams or lotions can easily solve the problem. Moisturizing milk containing urea or lactic acid, with anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, are especially useful.
It is not advisable to self-medicate with cortisone creams (which in the medium term cause skin damage) or antihistamines in creams (which cause contact allergies). The dermatologist must indicate the correct treatment.
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