Integumentary System Disorders

Integumentary System Disorders

Disorders of the integumentary system affect the largest organ of the human body; the skin and its associated appendages. To know about various diseases affecting this system, scroll through this Buzzle article.
The integumentary system is an organ that consists of the skin, hair, feathers, scales, sweat and oil glands integrated with specialized nerve receptors for any external or internal stimuli like touch, cold, heat, pain, etc. Its primary function is to prevent disease-causing microorganisms into its internal structures, regulate body temperature and perspiration, protect against harmful UV rays, and produce the all important vitamin D. Besides the skin and its layers, the integumentary system contains the oil glands, nail, hair, etc.

Our skin is made up of two major layers; the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (inner layer). The outer layer, epidermis is made of several layers that contain four cell types; Keratinocytes that produce keratin, a protein that gives skin its strength and flexibility, Merkel's oval receptor cells that are associated with the sense of light touch of shapes and textures, Langerhans' cells that work with other cells of the immune system to fight foreign bodies, and Melanocytes that produce the dark pigment responsible for our skin's color, melanin.

The inner layer, dermis, also known as the true skin is made up of collagen and reticular fiber, and two layers; the papillary layer which contains loose connective tissue, and the reticular layer, containing dense connective tissue.

Disorders of the Integumentary System

These disorders can get triggered due to many environmental, or internal bodily functions/malfunctions, some of them have been listed below.

Rash
A rash is a skin condition characterized by the color change and texture of skin. A skin rash is generally associated as a symptom of certain diseases like measles, chickenpox, etc. Even allergies cause rashes to erupt, turn bumpy, dry, blistered, and/or swell up, thus leading to pain.

Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a malignant growth that generally develops in the epidermis. As the cancer develops on the outer layer of the skin, it can be diagnosed quicker as compared to other cancers. Skin cancer exhibits itself through redness, scaly lesions or a lumpy feeling around the infected area.

Athlete's Foot
A fungal infection of the skin that primarily affects the foot, but can also infect the groin and other parts of the body. This infection gets transmitted when people walk barefoot in moist or water logged places like showers or bathhouses, or swamps and gutters. In this condition, the skin starts to scale, flake and itch.

Sun Burn
When a live tissue is overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the condition is known as a sunburn. Sunburn is characterized by red skin that feels very hot and sensitive to touch. Extreme sunburn can cause mild dizziness. Prolonged overexposure to the sun's rays can become a cause of non-malignant skin tumors.

Herpes
Herpes is a viral disease caused by the herpes simplex virus. The infection is further classified depending upon the site of infection; oral herpes, genital herpes, ocular herpes, cerebral herpes, etc. It is an easily transmissible infection through contact of body fluid, or during asymptomatic shedding.

Acne
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition caused by changes in the oil glands, clogged pores, and bacteria. Acne mostly develops in locations where there is a dense population of sebaceous follicles like the face, neck, chest, back, and the bottom. When acne develops a very deep blockage with a formation of a stubborn pustule, it results in cysts.

Integumentary system disorders are treated as per the particular condition and its symptoms. Being the largest organ, the skin can become infected with quite a number of problems.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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