Learn about integumentary system diseases with this guide to skin health. The integumentary system is comprised of skin, hair and cells. It's also made up of nerve endings and layers of tissue. This system is the largest organ in your body. It's designed to protect and house all other systems in the human body. Here is a look at several types of diseases that may harm your skin system.
- Melanoma: Integumentary diseases that come from outside sources include melanoma. This is a skin cancer caused by the harsh rays of the sun. Although more common in people of light or white skin complexions, melanoma can occur in anyone who is constantly exposed to the sun's harmful rays. Half of melanoma cancers begin in moles. Moles and other melanoma sites are considered cancerous if they change color, size or appearance. Other signs of melanoma include itchiness, bleeding or pain.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type of integumentary skin disease is easier to treat than melanoma. It begins in the outer layer of skin. If detected in the early stages, it's curable. Squamous cell carcinoma is another type in the outer layer. As with basal cell carcinoma, it is also treatable in the early stages.
- Boils: Boils are probably the most painful types of skin disease. They begin deep in the skin tissue and become inflamed. White blood cells attack the site by forming a large abscess. Once the abscess enlarges and forms a soft spot, the boil erupts. Bacteria-filled pus is released and the pain subsides. If a boil refuses to ripen with treatment, you may need a physician to lance the site. Never squeeze a boil. The infection inside the skin abscess can burrow deeper into the skin and cause other serious conditions, including sepsis. Sepsis is blood poisoning.
- Nail Fungus: Integumentary skin disorders that affect the nails are caused by fungi. Nail fungus infections and diseases destroy the nail bed. The fungus is usually found between the nail and skin. The affected nail becomes discolored, brittle and thick. Most nail infections are cured by anti-fungal medications and treatments.
- Ectodermal Dysplasia: System diseases that affect multiple parts of the skin include ectodermal dysplasia. This disease attacks the nails, skin, hair and/or sweat glands. The teeth may even be affected as well. Although everyone can get the disease, men are more affected than others. Decreased ability to sweat, skin discoloration and thin skin texture are some of the symptoms of this integumentary disease.
Integumentary system diseases can be treated if discovered early. If you think you might have any type of skin disorder or disease, contact your physician. Only a physician can diagnose and prescribe the correct treatment course.