Best NCLEX-RN Practice: The Child with Dermatologic and Endocrine Health Problems
- The Client with Skin Disorders
- The Client with Burns
- The Client with Hyperthyroidism
- The Client with Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
- Managing Care Quality and Safety
- Answers, Rationales, and Test Taking Strategies
Hormones are known to be essential in regulating physiologic processes in each system of the body, including the skin. Endocrine diseases, through excess or deficiencies of hormones, result in changes in cutaneous function and morphology. Dermatologists may commonly see skin lesions that reflect an underlying endocrine disorder. Identifying the endocrinopathy is very important so that patients might receive corrective rather than symptomatic treatment.
The diagnosis of many childhood endocrine disorders can be facilitated by an awareness of the associated dermatologic findings. A key concept is that skin findings often accompany hormonal conditions, both those of hormone excess and hormone deficiency/resistance. Some dermatologic signs may also represent the hallmark lesion, or provide the first clinical sign in childhood, for both familial tumoral and nontumoral syndromes. Moreover, skin as an endocrine organ itself may provide new avenues both to understand disease mechanisms as well as to provide targeted therapy.
Dermatologists may commonly see skin lesions that reflect an underlying endocrine disorder. Identifying the endocrinopathy is very important, so that patients can receive corrective rather than symptomatic treatment. Skin diseases with underlying endocrine pathology include: thyrotoxicosis; hypothyroidism; Cushing syndrome; Addison disease; acromegaly; hyperandrogenism; hypopituitarism; primary hyperparathyroidism; hypoparathyroidism; pseudohypoparathyroidism and manifestations of diabetes mellitus.
Thyrotoxicosis may lead to multiple cutaneous manifestations, including hair loss, pretibial myxedema, onycholysis and acropachy. In patients with hypothyroidism, there is hair loss, the skin is cold and pale, with myxedematous changes, mainly in the hands and in the periorbital region. The striking features of Cushing syndrome are centripetal obesity, moon facies, buffalo hump, supraclavicular fat pads, and abdominal striae. In Addison disease, the skin is hyperpigmented, mostly on the face, neck and back of the hands. Virtually all patients with acromegaly have acral and soft tissue overgrowth, with characteristic findings, like macrognathia and enlarged hands and feet. The skin is thickened, and facial features are coarser. Conditions leading to hyperandrogenism in females present as acne, hirsutism and signs of virilization (temporal balding, clitoromegaly).A prominent feature of hypopituitarism is a pallor of the skin with a yellowish tinge. The skin is also thinner, resulting in fine wrinkling around the eyes and mouth, making the patient look older. Primary hyperparathyroidism is rarely associated with pruritus and chronic urticaria. In hypoparathyroidism, the skin is dry, scaly and puffy. Nails become brittle and hair is coarse and sparse. Pseudohypoparathyroidism may have a special somatic phenotype known as Albright osteodystrophy. This consists of short stature, short neck, brachydactyly and subcutaneous calcifications. Some of the cutaneous manifestations of diabetes mellitus include necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, diabetic dermopathy, scleredema adultorum and acanthosis nigricans.