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More Than Skin Deep

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This guest blog comes from Azeen Sadeghian, M.D., Tulane Department of Dermatology.

It's usually a joke that dermatology residents are set apart from other programs by their great skin. As a resident, I can say we often practice what we preach: sunscreen, moisturizers, and healthy diets. Some of us even use Botox, chemical peels, and fillers. Sometimes we can look highly generic as a group. However, it's more than just our skin that I hope is noticed by the masses.

Dermatologists, like other clinicians, are akin to Sherlock Holmes. We can take a few single nail pits from a physician exam, pair it with some joint tenderness, and come to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. We examine a new itchy patient who everyone has written off as a nuisance and find an underlying cause of severely untreated anemia.

If that isn't more than skin deep, then I can mention our cancer screenings. We screen for more than just skin cancers - we try to ensure our patients don's have systemic malignancies when they have certain abrupt-onset skin findings. When other providers may write off patients as having chronic eczema, we are monitoring for signs of skin lymphoma. And don't even get me started on medication rashes. Our work-up and management is highly complex, more so than what is reflected in our orders. When we see a drug rash and eosinophilia, we are monitoring for signs of systemic drug toxicity and subsequent endocrine effects. So the next time someone sees my colleagues and me, I hope they don't see us for the cosmetic procedures we perform the minority of our time. I hope they see us as medicine providers, because our care for the patient goes deeper than the skin.

About the Author

azeemsmall.jpgAzeen Sadeghian, M.D. is currently a chief resident at Tulane Department of Dermatology in New Orleans, LA. She received a bachelor of science in Biology at Louisiana State University and completed her medical training at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Azeen completed a Dermatology-focused Clinical Research Fellowship at Tulane Health Sciences Center. She currently serves on the American Academy of Dermatology State Society Relationship Committee and on the Louisiana Medical Society Council on Socioeconomics.

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