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Skin abnormalities – Psoriasis, Impetigo, and Eczema

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is one of the most common skin diseases of mature and later years. It resembles a growth of dull red splotches about the size of a dime, covered with a thin silvery white scale. Sometimes several of these growths join together and form larger patchy areas, which usually itch considerably and invite scratching, which removes the silvery white scale to start up tiny points of bleeding underneath. Psoriasis most often starts on the elbows, knees or scalp, but any region on the body may be involved in both men and women. It is considered to be primarily a disease of adult years.
Treatment of psoriasis is difficult since its cause is unknown, but skin specialists have found certain lotions, salves and cleansing preparations to be very helpful, along with x-ray therapy, diet and internal drugs, all of which can be used in psoriasis with good effect.

Impetigo

Impetigo is an infectious disease, very common in children, and is known to be highly contagious. Fortunately, it is very rare in the senior age group, but can occur as a series of small pimples in isolated instances.

Eczema

Eczema is a type of skin irritation due to contact with an irritating substance outside of the body. The skin is reddened, swollen and itching and has the appearance of minute blisters, exuding a “weeping” fluid. Eczema is not an infection, but is a direct reaction to contact with paint, cosmetics, poison ivy, shaving cream or almost any substance to which a person may have frequent contacts. It can appear on any skin area, but exposed regions such as the hands, arms, face and neck seem to be most involved.

Treatment of eczema includes searching for the substance responsible for the skin reaction. This may grow into a hunt of the most minute and detailed nature. Oils from various products, painted hand-rails, gloves, animals, food and dozens of other possible offenders must be suspected in order to find the provocative substance initiating the disease. Sometimes it proves to be a combination of offending substances, while at other times, the source of the difficulty cannot be traced and the patient is forced to change his environment completely to clear his skin difficulty. In determining possible offending substances, the patch test is often used. Suspected liquids, such as chemicals, nail polish, lipstick or soaps are painted on a definite skin area. Solid objects, such as coins are held to the skin with adhesive tape. If a tested substance incites the eczema, a redness of the skin appears in a very short time. If no redness develops, the tested substance was not guilty and the investigation proceeds elsewhere. Most of the common offenders producing eczema are known to the physician, who can test twenty to thirty such substances at one time. In this manner it is possible for him to arrive at the cause of the eczema in the shortest possible time. There are also available several drugs that can at least alleviate symptoms temporarily to decrease the discomfort of eczema until testing can be completed.





Congestive Failure and Coronary Occlusion of the heart

Heart Failure {Congestive Failure, Dropsy). The normal heart pumps more than enough blood for all body functions, but the diseased heart may not be able to pump the minimum required by the body, and then heart failure is said to be occurring. The heart does not fail all at once but by slow degrees, and is usually


Fig. 59. Heart or anginal pain (in shaded region) is variable, generally left-sided, also in the left arm. Pain distribution is due to nerve arrangements to and from the heart region. Pain in the left arm is, therefore, usually more significant than pain in the right arm.

marked by increasing shortness of breath, pressure in the chest and a frequent flip-flopping sensation of the heart. Water logging of the body may be noticeable as heart failure begins and body water begins gravitating down into the lower legs. Normal size legs in the morning then become considerably swollen by evening.

Caused by diseases which greatly weaken the heart muscle, heart failure is often a result of childhood rheumatic fever, or in later years, arteriosclerosis of the heart arteries themselves. The physician can markedly strengthen the weakened heart with digitalis-like drugs, and other drugs effective in combating the heart failure, to promote a stronger normal heart function.

Heart Attack (Coronary Occlusion, A Coronary). Heart attack means a sudden block of a coronary (heart) artery by a blood clot stopping the blood flow to a quickly damaged portion of the heart muscle. If this damage is slight, it might even go unnoticed, but if damage to the heart is severe, it is likely to stop beating, with death following quickly. It is apparent that there are many degrees of severity in heart attacks.

The pain in the chest can be excruciating, causing nausea, weakness, pallor and perspiration similar to extreme exhaustion, and the patient may collapse. A heart attack is nearly always suspected, but cannot be known with accuracy until an electrocardiogram has been taken. Possible candidates for heart attack are the fifty-year-old (and younger) individuals, including those who have never known any discomforts or disease. Most vulnerable of all is the person with already existing heart disease who must take extra precaution to spare his heart, and promote as strong and healthy a heart muscle as possible.

The person who dies a few moments after his heart attack could not benefit from any known treatment, but for those who live through the early attack, the physician, with marvelous drugs, can greatly magnify chances of survival. A yearly check-up of the heart condition in all people of fifty years is necessary for sane regard of good health.

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