Itchy Skin and Underlying Medical Conditions

Itchy skin can often be blamed on one thing: Dry skin — and while this is something that is much more common in the colder seasons (i.e. winter and fall), other people can be prone to dry skin and experience it year-round. Regardless, it’s always recommended that you use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated — even if it’s on the oiler side — as well as exfoliate and cleanse your skin regularly to keep it as healthy as possible. There are also other skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, that are associated with dry skin, and you may also develop some other symptoms such as scaling, flakiness, and redness/inflammation. If it is suspected that you might have either of these conditions, your doctor will possibly refer you to a skin specialist known as a dermatologist so that you can get proper treatment. In many cases these particular conditions are easily managed with topical ointments and, in some cases, oral medications — though it depends on the severity.

There are also underlying medical conditions that cause itchy skin, and they are as follows:

Anemia

When itchy skin occurs as a result of being anemic, you could have what’s known as aplastic anemia, which is a condition that is considered rare though serious. It occurs when your bone marrow cannot produce enough new blood cells, resulting in small red or purple rash-like spots known as petechiae which can be raised or flat, appearing on places like the neck, arms and legs. You can either develop aplastic anemia, or you can inherit it (i.e. if your mother has the same condition.) Aplastic anemia is more commonly seen in teens and adults and is also more common in Asian countries.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can be detected through a simple blood test, and if it is determined that you do, in fact, have hypothyroidism, then you will need to go on a medication.

Kidney Failure

Originally published at http://alighahary.ca on July 22, 2019.

Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca

Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca