Which skin and mucous membranes exam findings are helpful in determining the etiology of anemia?

Updated: Nov 26, 2019
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Too often, the physician rushes into the physical examination without looking at the patient for an unusual habitus or appearance of underdevelopment, malnutrition, or chronic illness. These findings can be important clues to the underlying etiology of disease and provide information related to the duration of illness. The skin and mucous membranes are often bypassed, so that pallor, abnormal pigmentation, icterus, spider nevi, petechiae, purpura, angiomas, ulcerations, palmar erythema, coarseness of hair, puffiness of the face, thinning of the lateral aspects of the eyebrows, nail defects, and a usually prominent venous pattern on the abdominal wall are missed in the rush to examine the heart and the lungs.


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