Integumentary System Diseases

Integumentary System Diseases

Alopecia areata, psoriasis, warts, dermatitis, etc. are some of the different integumentary system diseases, that can affect the human body seriously. This article dwells on the common diseases of the integumentary system.
Human skin closeup with water drop
The integumentary system comprises nails, hair, and human skin, and forms the largest organ system of the body. This system is a truly mesmerizing one and involves scores of wonderful functions and purposes. One of its main functions is waterproofing the body with the help of the outer layer of dead and keratinized cells. It also protects the body from water loss and protects the inner organs from attacks of germs and other infections.

Moreover, this system can be considered as the first line of defense of the body. The integumentary system not only protects the internal organ systems, but also regulates temperature, senses pain, plays a vital role in the synthesis of vitamin D, and excretes toxins. The proper functioning of this system is crucial for the health of the body. The vitality of these functions makes integumentary system diseases very harmful.
Alopecia Areata
This disease is a non-contagious autoimmune disorder, wherein, the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Hair is lost in some or all regions of the body, mostly the scalp, thereby, resulting in baldness. This condition is also known as spot baldness, as it conduces to bald spots on the scalp in the initial stages.

About 0.1%-0.2% of humans (both males and females) are affected by this condition, and initial occurrence of this disease appears in early childhood, late teenage, or young adulthood, however, the disease can affect people of all ages.
Psoriasis
Another disease of the integumentary system is psoriasis, which is a chronic, non-contagious, autoimmune disease. In this disease, red and scaly patches or lesions can be observed on the skin. These scaly patches are called psoriatic plaques, and are areas of inflammation and increased skin production.

The excessive production of skin conduces to an accumulation of skin cells that take on a silvery-white appearance. These plaques can mostly found on the elbows and knees, however, they can even affect the scalp and genitals.
Warts
This is one of the common diseases of the integumentary system. Warts are characterized by tiny, round, rough tumor found typically on the hands and feet. The human papillomavirus causes different types of warts like the common wart, flat wart, plantar wart, genital wart, mosaic wart, etc.

Warts can be contagious and can spread from one person to another via contact. They resemble a cauliflower or solid blister on the skin. In fact, when situated on the feet, they can be quite exacerbating, however, they usually disappear after a few months. If they don't, they can be removed safely as well.
Dermatitis
The word dermatitis is a general term used to describe inflammation of the skin. There are different types of dermatitis, including seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (eczema). This disorder can have scores of causes and can surface in various forms, starting out as an itchy rash, and spreading to increase with redness and swelling.

This skin disorder is not life-threatening or contagious. However, it can cause one to feel really uncomfortable and self-conscious.
Athlete's Foot
Athlete's foot or tinea pedis is a fungal infection of the skin, that causes scaling, flaking, and itching of various areas of the skin. This condition is transmitted mostly in moist areas, where people walk barefoot, for example, bathhouses, showers, etc.

This condition typically affects the feet, however, can spread to other areas such as the groin. By maintaining good hygiene, one can prevent the occurrence of Athletes foot.
Besides the diseases mentioned above, there are scores of integumentary system diseases such as acne, albinism, herpes, blisters, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, and other kinds of skin cancer that can affect people. Thus, damage to this largest organ system can prove quite deleterious.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.