Skin problems in people with obesity
Jenny Brown Clinical nurse specialist in obesity, Westburn House, NHS Grampian, Aberdeen
Peter Wimpenny Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
Hazel Maughan Lead nurse, Medical Outpatients, Woolmanhill Hospital, Aberdeen
Aim To establish the level and type of skin problems in people with obesity and the extent to which they sought advice on their problem.
Method A self-report survey was carried out in a specialist nutrition clinic in Scotland during 2001. A convenience sample of 100 patients was selected.
Results A majority (n=75, 75 per cent) of respondents had some type of skin problem. The main problems identified were itchiness and dry skin. The sites for skin problems varied although groin, limbs and beneath the breasts were the most prevalent areas. The two main causes of perceived skin problems were perspiration and friction. Forty four (59 per cent) had seen a doctor about their skin problem, but few (n=12, 16 per cent) had consulted other healthcare professionals and some (25 per cent) had not sought any advice.
Conclusion There is a considerable level of skin problems in this patient group, which has not previously been reported or identified as a significant potential co-morbidity. Therefore, nurses and other healthcare professionals should incorporate some form of skin assessment into any assessment of patients with obesity. Further research is needed to determine the specificity and degree of skin problems in those who are diagnosed as obese and the impact it has on their life and their weight management.
This article has been subject to double blind peer review
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