Obesity is one of today’s most common health problems of the modern human being. Seious changes that are happening in our organisms include formation of pathological changes in different organ systems in the human body such as cardiovascular, digestive, endoctrine, nervous, etc. However, most patients very often do not pay attention to the problems occurring in the specified organ systems because they are using medications.
They are far more occupied by the changes occurring on their skin. Medical practice has found that a certain number of dermatological complications appear as consequences of obesity. Some of them are: acanthosis nigrans and hanging nipples, hyperandrogenism, stretches, hyperpigmentation, lymphedema, pathological conditions related to skinfolds (intertrigo), changed foot anatomy due to the exaggerated weight, cetain complications that can occur throught hospitalization, etc.
Acanthosis nigrans is a disorder qualified by velvety brown plaques qith defined borders. It is most often found in the flexion areas of the axillary pits and neck. Hanging nipples can often be found in the same areas on overweight people.
Hyperandrogenism occurs as a consequence of hormonal disorder which appears in bodies of obese women. Testosterone synthesis is increased in the adipose tissue, hyperinsulinemia increases the production in ovary androgens, insulin inhibits the synthesis of the female horomones and all that leads to the increase of the free testosterone (male hormone) with the females. In any case, hormonal imbalance in women contributes to irregular menstrual periods, appearance of hairiness, as well as baldness as in male type. There is an overstimulation of the pilosebaceous glands, which manifests in oily skin and acne and furuncle appearance.
Stretches occur as a consequence of exaggerated skin stretching due to the body weight increase. People have been mentioning stretches since olden times but they were first mentioned in the medical literature in 1889. What is characteristic about them is the athrofic strips of skin. At the beginning they are pale pink or purple, and later white or pearly white depressed stripes compared to the neighboring healthy skin. They appear in places of largest load and tension and the most covered areas are: stomach, thighs, groins and buttocks. They can also appear on arms and breasts. In the beginning stretches were considered dermal scars which occurred due to the collagen rupture which was also proven by electronic microscope. However, apart from that other studies have shown that there is a significant influence of the hormonal imbalance that appears in the obese organism. Treatments are different starting from the application of certain creams with newly appearing stretches to laser application but with different levels of success.
The obesity warnings
Hyper-pigmentation occurs due to the peripheral vascular disease of narrow paths and coming-out of the cells from the blood vessels, which leads to an inflammatory reaction and hemoglobin deposits formation. Lower extremities can be swollen, red and painful due to the inflammatory reaction to the present pigment. Small erosions and large ulcers and show residues of the residual eczematous dermatitis. Deep ulcers are very rare.
Lymphedema occurs due to the exaggerated agglomeration of the lymphatic fluid which is rich in protein. Due to the untimely and inadequate treatments lymphatic channels dilate, tissue oxygenation is reduced and an excellent groundwork for development of bacterial infections is created. Treatment includes weight reduction, infection prevention and application of adequate remedies with the aim to reduce limbs’ volume.
Cellulite is a usual phenomenon with the overweight people especially covers thighs. The cause of cellulite appearance is still not clear. It probably occurs due to the great straining of the surface fascia which connects the derm with the deep fascia. Ultrasound analysis of thighs with over-weight people has shown the presence of herniacia in the deep subcutaneous adipose tissue in the reticular and papilar layers of the derm. Of course, cellulite is not exclusively connected to the obesity and it can occur with people of normal weight.
At first plantar hyperkeratosis was not noticed and connected to obesity. During the time, research has shown that obesity worsens the feet statics and leads to a disorder on the level of feet anatomy. Due to the improper distribution of load while moving changes on the feet skin manifest themselves as hyperkeratosis.
Hospitalization of an obese patient (for any reason) may lead to decubitus because of long staying in bed, respiratory problems, sphincter problems due to the pressure of the excess weight on the bladder and the colon. That is the reason why obese people are in most cases the ones exposed to the longer postoperative course (if there was a surgery) and prolonged hospitalization.
The obesity conclusion
In the end we can say that because of all aforementioned, medicine treats obesity as an illness these days; an illness that can only be treated on a multidisciplinary level with compulsory cooperation and motivation of each patient.