Health Tips for Seniors

Archive for October, 2005

Skin abnormalities – Moles, Senile Keratosis, and Angioma


The ordinary mole begins in youth, but may develop in middle or even later years of life. They are usually light brown, with a slightly elevated appearance and considered desirable as a beauty spot by many people. Most moles, including those with hair growth are not cancerous but certain moles are considered dangerous and should be removed as soon as detected. They are the blue or pitch black moles with a smooth surface, which occur at any age. Because these moles sometimes develop into serious cancers, the physician’s attention should be directed to them as soon as possible to be safe. Ordinary moles in spots of continual irritation such as the belt-line or shaving area are also usually recommended for removal, lest continual irritation stimulate a possible cancerous change in them.

Senile Keratosis

Soft, warty, raised and mole-like growths about the back, hands and face in adult years are known as senile keratosis or seborrheic warts. They are very common after the age of fifty, and especially in fair-skinned people. These soft, painless growths have little, if any, connection with cancer, but are apparently connected to excessive exposure to sunlight. They can be removed for cosmetic purposes or if they are in areas subject to considerable irritation but rarely do senile keratosis become malignant.

Angioma, Blood Warts, Senile Ectasia

About 5 to 10 percent of persons over fifty years have small ruby-red growths on their skin, especially of the face and chest. They are painless and made up of small, thread-sized, red blood vessels grouped in little clusters on the skin. As the years pass, they seem to become larger and more numerous, and if scratched, may heavily bleed, but they are not considered to be of a cancerous nature. They may be safely left alone, unless they are in an area of continual irritation, or unless they interfere with cosmetic appearance. The physician can remove these growths by excision or cautery, both of which are very simple procedures.

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Skin abnormalities – Intertrigo and Warts

Intertrigo, Sweat Rash

Reddened, wet and itching skin under large breasts and in the skin folds of obese abdomens is called intertrigo. The skin may be macerated, cracked and have erosions appearing as though sand-papered, and boil-like eruptions may appear.
This irritation, when coupled with a fungus infection in the groin region, is known as jock strap itch, or dhobie itch, and is technically named tinea-cruris. When it exists between the toes, combined with another fungus, the result is called athlete’s foot, or dermatophytosis.

All of these particular skin conditions exist because of trapped perspiration which macerates the skin and provides an ideal breeding ground for fungi and infection producing bacteria. Simple prevention of these intertrigo like skin difficulties, consists primarily of cleanliness with ordinary soap and water and exposure to air. It is only when cleanliness is avoided and the air shut out from the enfolding skin, that these disagreeable skin infections and irritations can persist.


Warts are most common in childhood, but they may persist after the age of fifty. They are non-cancerous, caused by viruses and are thought to be mildly contagious. Warts may occur anywhere on the body, but are most often seen on the fingers, the face and occasionally the sole of the foot where, as plantar warts, they cause considerable difficulty. Essentially the same as warts in other areas, plantar warts are quite painful because of the pressure put on the sole of the foot. Warts may disappear by themselves after several years, but active removal is usually required, with the size, position and duration of the wart dictating to the physician the manner of its removal.

One interesting fact about treatment of warts is hypnotism, which is sometimes very effective. While it is known that many warts disappear after genuine x-ray therapy, it is also true that many of them will disappear with only imagined x-ray therapy, x-ray treatment given with a machine that is not even turned on. Mind over matter in this treatment of warts is but one phase of this mysterious, relatively untouched field of medicine. At present, small scale exploration in the realm of hypnotism has produced some interesting results. They point to a possibly new medical tool, perhaps to be used more extensively in the future.

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