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Skin and Malnutrition

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Dermatology in Clinical Practice


Malnutrition is not only seen in developing countries, but it is also prevalent in the West, where it is associated with a variety of diseases. It accompanies any disease that disturbs appetite, digestion, absorption, and utilization of nutrients. Malnutrition can occur secondary to malignancy, malabsorption due to ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, after prolonged vomiting, in alcoholism, after resection of a large portion of the small intestine, in old age where adequate nutrition is often neglected, in anorexia nervosa, and atrophic gastritis, which leads to cyanocobalamin deficiency. Drugs that cause malabsorption include colchicine, methotrexate, neomycin, cholestyramine, biguanamides, some laxatives, etc. These cases are often missed in clinical practice, as more importance is given to the primary disease that dominates the clinical picture. Generally the skin in malnutrition is dry, pruritic, with symmetrical hyperpigmentation; the nails and hair are brittle.

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Correspondence to Zohra Zaidi .

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© 2010 Springer-Verlag London Limited

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Zaidi, Z., Lanigan, S.W. (2010). Skin and Malnutrition. In: Dermatology in Clinical Practice. Springer, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-84882-861-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-84882-862-9

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