For some people a dermatologist is perhaps an afterthought -- a medical professional that you know is around but don't give much thought to. If you ever suffered from extreme cases of acne in your teen years, you probably don't fall into that category. Seeing a dermatologist can be even more important as an adult, especially if you experience signs of these four medical issues.
Sometimes thought of as a case of dry skin that doesn't go away, psoriasis is a sign that your immune system isn't working properly. New skin cells form more rapidly than the old ones can be shed, causing a thickening of the skin in places such as the elbows, knees and feet. In some cases other parts of the body are affected. Dermatologists may treat psoriasis with creams to help eliminate the itching and rough skin. They also can prescribe medication to bring the immune system back under control.
If you have a mole or other skin growth that's grown or changed color recently, get yourself to the dermatologist. This is especially important if you've spent many hours in the sun, which can cause skin cancer. If caught early, skin cancer responds well to treatment, but left unchecked it can develop into melanoma, a much deadlier type of skin cancer. The best prevention for skin cancer is to load up on the sunscreen if you'll be spending time in the sun. It's also wise to get regular "skin checks" from your dermatologist.
Dermatologists aren't sure what causes rosacea but it may have something to do with blood vessels expanding too quickly. This results in a red rash, usually on the face but it can extend to the ears and chest. There may or may not be bumps or swelling. Either way this chronic condition is uncomfortable. Dermatologists treat rosacea with medication and laser therapy, but they also concentrate on helping the patient make lifestyle changes that may help relieve the symptoms. Staying out of the heat and sun, along with changes in diet, is sometimes suggested.
People usually go to dermatologists because their varicose veins are unsightly. These red, sometimes bulging blood vessels can also be deadly. They can cause blood clots and create sore spots, usually on the legs. The best prevention is keeping a healthy weight and staying active, but even when doing those things, these veins become more common as people age. Dermatologists can use laser treatments or chemical injections to help minimize the problem.
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