Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions
Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions

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Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions
Properly identifying the cause and type of a patient’s skin condition involves a process of elimination known as differential diagnosis. Using this process, a health professional can take a given set of physical abnormalities, vital signs, health assessment findings, and patient descriptions of symptoms, and incrementally narrow them down until one diagnosis is determined as the most likely cause.
In this Discussion, you will examine several visual representations of various skin conditions, describe your observations, and use the techniques of differential diagnosis to determine the most likely condition.

To prepare:
• Review the Skin Conditions document provided (the picture of different skin condition document will be uploaded for you), and select two conditions to closely examine for this Discussion.
• Consider the abnormal physical characteristics you observe in the graphics you selected. How would you describe the characteristics using clinical terminologies?
• Explore different conditions that could be the cause of the skin abnormalities in the graphics you selected.
• Consider which of the conditions is most likely to be the correct diagnosis, and why.

1) Post on or before Day 3 a description of the two graphics you selected (identify each graphic by number).please use the document of the skin condition uploaded.
2) Use clinical terminologies to explain the physical characteristics featured in each graphic.
3) Formulate a differential diagnosis of three to five possible conditions for each.
4) Determine which is most likely to be the correct diagnosis, and explain your reasoning.

Readings/Recommended References (you may choose your own textbook or articles for this paper)

• Seidel, H. M., Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2011). Mosby’s guide to physical examination (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.
o Chapter 8, “Skin, Hair, and Nails” (pp. 150–212)

This chapter reviews the basic anatomy and physiology of skin, hair, and nails. The chapter also describes guidelines for proper skin, hair, and nails assessments.
• Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2012). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Elsevier.
o Chapter 25, “Rashes and Skin Lesions” (pp. 303–320)

This chapter explains the steps in an initial examination of someone with dermatological problems, including the type of information that needs to be gathered and assessed.
• LeBlond, R. F., Brown, D. D., & DeGowin, R. L. (2009). DeGowin’s diagnostic examination (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Medical.
o Chapter 6, “The Skin and Nails”

In this chapter, the authors provide guidelines and procedures to aid in the diagnosis of skin and nail disorders. The chapter supplies descriptions and pictures of common skin and nail conditions.
• Chadha, A. (2009). Assessing the skin. Practice Nurse, 38(7), 43–48.
Retrieved from a Library databases.

In this article, the author explains how to take a relevant skin health history. In addition, the article defines common terms used to describe skin lesions and rashes.
• Ely, J. W., & Stone, M. S. (2010). The generalized rash: Part I. Differential diagnosis. American Family Physician, 81(6), 726–734.
Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0315/p726.html

This article focuses on common, uncommon, and rare causes of generalized rashes. The article also specifies tests to diagnose generalized rashes.
• Ely, J. W., & Stone, M. S. (2010). The generalized rash: Part II. Diagnostic approach. American Family Physician, 81(6), 735–739.
Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0315/p735.html

This article revolves around the diagnosis of generalized rashes. The authors describe clinical features that may help in distinguishing generalized rashes.
• Document: Skin Conditions (Word document)

This document contains five images of different skin conditions. You will use this information in this week’s Discussion.


Differential Diagnosis for Skin Conditions


Just like any other part of the human organic system, diagnosis of different skin conditions often involves a history, examination and additional tests of the skin.  The more the skin is visible to the naked eye, the easier it will be for the diagnosis to be made. This will also allow the skin specialist to label the type of disease process being considered (LeBlond, Brown, & DeGowin, 2009). Skin diagnosis will also involve the use of different visual clues that include; individual lesion morphology, body color, site distribution, arrangement of lesions and body scaling. At some point the recognition of the skin pattern may become complex especially when the skin components are analyzed separately (Seidel, Ball, Dains, Flynn, Solomon, & Stewart, 2011). Other factors that the skin specialist will also look at will be the histopathology examination of skin biopsies and the causes. Most skin conditions rely on the presence of a constellation of histopathological, immunopathological or clinical genetic features. This is even common in diseases such as psoriasis.

Case analysis

The skin condition that has been illustrated in the picture attached is known as Eczema. The most possible type of this skin condition atopic Eczema due to the fact that the condition may have been caused by other underlying illnesses such as hay fever or asthma (Seidel, Ball, Dains, Flynn, Solomon, & Stewart, 2011).

Graphic classification of the skin condition will look at the type of lesion being treated. For example, if the skin condition has moist weeping lesions then wet dressing changes or lotions will be of good help due to the fact that it will assist in drying up the dermatitis as it provides for a cool and soothing relief.  However if the graphic presents acute exudative dermatoses, then bland treatment in liquid vehicles will be most recommended (Dains, Baumann, & P.Scheibel, 2012). If the graph presents chronic psoriasis then a lot of therapy involving creams and ointments will be vital to retaining native moisture and provide relief to the pruritic and dry skin condition.

Atopic Eczema of this kind came about due to genetic defect in proteins that support the epidermal barrier. During treatment, the patient will have to undergo a process that is aimed at reducing pruritus and dermatitis from spreading, reduction of excerbations and also reduce the risk of the whole therapy. Usually the treatment will be centered on the use of topical anti-inflammatory moisturization of the skin (LeBlond, Brown, & DeGowin, 2009). However, if the condition is more serious than the patient will require phototherapy.

Eczema skin condition is usually caused by various factors, however the most known is the overactive response to the body immune system to an irritant which eventually causes the skin condition. Also families that have a history of a person suffering from eczema are most likely to contact the skin condition too. Other symptoms may include ‘flare-ups’ of an itchy rash due to irritation of a certain substance. Other people contact the skin condition due to the weather or being exposed to certain house hold products (LeBlond, Brown, & DeGowin, 2009).


Up to this moment there is no cure for the eczema skin condition, however the disease can be well managed through a proper medical treatment plan. The condition is not also contagious meaning it cannot spread from one person to the other. In addition the person also needs to stay away from irritating places as this could make it worse.


Dains, J., Baumann, L., & P.Scheibel. (2012). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care . St. Louis: MO: Mosby, Elsevier.

LeBlond, R., Brown, D., & DeGowin, R. (2009). DeGowin’s diagnostic examination (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Medical.

Seidel, H., Ball, J., Dains, J., Flynn, J., Solomon, B., & Stewart, R. (2011). Mosby’s guide to physical examination. St. Louis, MO.

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