Weird Skin Stuff

July 2009

FocusWeird Skin Stuff

Skin manifestations of systemic disease

Volume 38, No.7, July 2009 Pages 498-505

Adriene Lee

Background

Dermatologic complaints are a common reason for presentation to a general practitioner. In some cases, one needs to determine if the complaint may be a manifestation of a more serious underlying systemic disease.

Objective/s

This article aims to highlight common dermatologic presentations where further assessment is needed to exclude an underlying systemic disease, to discuss classic cutaneous features of specific systemic diseases, and to outline rare cutaneous paraneoplastic syndromes.

Discussion

Skin manifestations of systemic disease are wide, varied, specific and nonspecific. Generalised pruritus and cutaneous vasculitis are more common cutaneous presentations where an underlying systemic disease may be present and will influence management. In certain chronic diseases such as connective tissue disease and chronic liver disease, there are characteristic cutaneous findings. Internal malignancies such as multiple myeloma may present with distinctive cutaneous findings, which need to be recognised to institute a search for the underlying neoplasm. The skin has the potential to provide a window into the patient and aid in the diagnosis of diseases of all organ systems.

Dermatologic complaints are a common reason for presentation to a general practitioner. In such cases, one needs to determine if the complaint may be a manifestation of a more serious underlying systemic disease. Disorders of the every organ system may cause skin symptoms and signs, some of which are due to treatment of these conditions. It is beyond the scope of this review to cover all potential skin manifestations of systemic disease. This article highlights the more common, classic and important manifestations in three different groups:

  • 'When to look further' – where dermatologic presentations require further assessment to exclude underlying systemic disease, and guide appropriate management
  • 'What to look for' – where certain systemic diseases have classic cutaneous findings
  • 'What not to miss' – where specific cutaneous signs might be the initial presentation of an underlying malignancy.

Download the PDF for the full article.

Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

Yes     No

Declaration of competing interests *

Yes No

Additional Author (remove)

Yes No

    

 

 

 

 

Competing Interests: 

Your comment is being submitted, please wait

 

Download citation in RIS format (EndNote, Zotero, RefMan, RefWorks)

Download citation in BIBTEX format (RefMan)

Download citation in REFER format (EndNote, Zotero, RefMan, RefWorks)

For more information see Wikipedia: Comparison of reference management software