(HealthDay)—Skin changes, including new rash, new growths, discoloration, and changes in texture, could be among the first signs indicating an underlying medical condition, according to information presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from March 1 to 5 in Miami Beach.
Cindy Owen, M.D., from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and colleagues described skin changes that could be indicative of other medical conditions.
The authors note that specific skin changes commonly indicate an internal disease. These include new rash, which could be a sign of hepatitis C infection or occasionally of DRESS syndrome (drug reaction [or rash] with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms), which can occur some time after starting a new medication. Dermatomyositis has notable skin changes and is linked to a wide variety of cancers in up to 20 percent of cases. New growths could be skin cancer or represent a metastasis or could be a sign of other conditions such as eruptive xanthomas indicative of high triglyceride levels. Skin discoloration can suggest liver disease or adrenal disease (such as Addison's disease), or a defect in iron metabolism. Changes in texture could be a sign of systemic sclerosis, acanthosis nigricans, or acquired cutis laxa.
"Dermatologists have expertise to know when signs on the skin are more than a skin problem, which is why it is important to see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice any skin changes," Owen said in a statement. "Doing so can ensure proper diagnosis—and in some cases stop the progression of a more serious medical condition."