Clinical Professor of Dermatology

Recent Articles

What are cold sores and why should I care?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD

 

Cold sores are a group of tiny blisters that can occur anywhere, but most commonly occur on the lips, around the mouth, and around the nose. After a few days, the blisters change into a sore with an overlying crust/scab. Cold sores can be very painful, unsightly, and can be transmitted to others. Cold sores are also called “fever blisters” because it is a viral infection that can be activated by illness (fever/colds).  

Why should I care about cold sores? Cold sores are a recurrent viral infection that cannot be cured. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

What is psoriasis and why should I care about it?

 

Psoriasis is an itchy skin condition that appears as patches and plaques of dry, scaly skin located most commonly on the elbows, knees and scalp. Psoriasis, however, can occur anywhere. Sometimes it can be very mild with just a couple of spots, and in other cases it can be quite severe and widespread. Psoriasis can also make your fingernails and toenails rough and discolored with small pits.  

Why  should I care  about 

psoriasis? Psoriasis is extremely common, and approximately five percent of all people have this skin disease. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

What is Alzheimer’s disease and why should I care about it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alzheimer’s disease — the most common cause of dementia — is a group of brain disorders that cause a loss of intellectual and social skills. “Dementia” is an umbrella term describing multiple diseases and conditions that develop when nerve cells (neurons) in the brain die or are unable to function normally. The death or malfunction of brain neurons causes memory, behavior and thinking irregularities. In Alzheimer’s disease, these changes will ultimately affect an individual’s ability to carry out basic bodily functions such as walking and swallowing. These changes are progressive, incurable, and often severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

What is rosacea and why should I care?

Rosacea is a common skin disease that affects 15-25 percent of all people to some degree. It often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more easily than other people. This flushing can develop into a constant redness, or “rosy” complexion. It can also produce an acne-like bumpy, pustular eruption on the face, neck, ears, chest and back. Some term rosacea with bumps “acne rosacea.” The term “rosacea” is not optimal, because in persons of color it appears more copper or violet rather than pink in color. All people can develop rosacea.  

Why should I care about rosacea? Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

What is melasma and why should I care?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melasma is a condition where one develops dark brown and gray patches most notably on the forehead, upper lip, nose and cheeks. It can also occur on the forearms and neck. I consider melasma to be a very rapid, uneven suntan.  

Why should I care about melasma? Melasma is a condition that occurs in both men and women. Ninety percent of melasma cases occur in women; however, 10 percent of cases will occur in men. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

What are shingles and why should I care?

Shingles, medically called Herpes Zoster, is a rash caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus. The rash is very itchy and usually presents with grouped blisters. The rash follows a band-like pattern on the skin, and a big clue is that it does not cross the midline. Often times, the area will feel odd, itchy, tingle or burn a few days before the rash appears. About 20 percent of people who have chicken pox will develop shingles later in life. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Why should I care about heart failure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD

and Monica Colvin-Adams, MD, MS, FAHA

 

Heart failure is one of the few cardiovascular diseases that continue to increase. Heart failure is a leading cause of death and is strongly linked to high blood pressure.  

 

What is “congestive” heart failure? When your heart is too weak or too stiff to pump blood efficiently, fluid can back up in the lungs and tissues causing congestion. This is often referred to as “congestive heart failure.” This does not always happen during heart failure, and as a result the term “heart failure” is preferred over “congestive heart failure.”

 

What causes heart failure? Heart failure is the syndrome that is created by a heart that is too weak to pump or too stiff to eject blood efficiently. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

From picky eaters to overeating: childhood nutrition in a nutshell

By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD and Tamiko Morgan, M.D., FAAP
 

Childhood nutrition has taken the spotlight recently, especially due to the fact that childhood obesity has at least tripled in the past three decades. Many parents are seeking answers to the questions “What should my child eat? How much? Why?”

Although we are currently living in the “information age,” information overload has caused some parents to be confused, making it challenging for them to understand good nutritional recommendations. In this column, we will attempt to summarize some basic recommendations regarding childhood nutrition. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Should I take vitamins and other supplements?

Physician recommendations on taking vitamins seem to be constantly changing. Over the past few years, researchers have found that some vitamins thought to be helpful might not be as beneficial as originally believed. In fact, some may even be harmful. In the Iowa Women’s  Health Study, which tracked supplementation habits in women 55 years of age and older for nearly 20 years, research found that taking a multivitamin may increase the risk of premature death. Commonly, people take vitamins for general health or as a way to prevent disease, and on the surface this seems to make a lot of sense. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Why should I care about high blood pressure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD and

J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy, MD, PhD, FACE

 

High blood pressure may cause damage to vital organs over time. Brain damage causes a stroke. Heart damage causes a heart attack. And kidney damage causes kidney failure. High blood pressure may also damage the eyes and blood vessels, causing weakening of the blood vessel walls. If a blood vessel wall balloons out, this is called an aneurysm.  Aneurysms may break and bleeding can happen.  

What causes high blood pressure? The blood pressure is determined by the amount of squeeze created by the circular smooth muscle of the blood vessels, by the speed at which the heart beats, and by the volume inside the blood vessels made up by the blood. The blood pressure will go up if there is too much squeeze from the blood vessels. It will also go up if there is excess volume in the circulation. And it will go up if the heart is stimulated to beat faster or stronger. Adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormone, causes the heart to beat faster and the blood vessels to squeeze tighter. Therefore, too much adrenaline, as is the case with stress, can cause the blood pressure to go up. Table salt has sodium. Sodium holds on to water. So, the sodium inside blood vessels will hold on to water. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,