Skin Morbidity - Essay Example

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Migration to Western countries is continuing phenomenon that has resulted in the observation that morbidity for diseases like diabetes and mental health differ among ethnic groups. However, there are no large-scale studies on the prevalence of skin diseases in ethnic minorities…
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Skin Morbidity
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Self reported skin morbidity and ethni a population-based study in a Western community Migration to Western countries is continuing phenomenon that has resulted in the observation that morbidity for diseases like diabetes and mental health differ among ethnic groups. However, there are no large-scale studies on the prevalence of skin diseases in ethnic minorities in Western countries. In dermatology, the classification of populations is normally based on external skin color, on the assumption that skin structure and function are similar across different ethnic groups. But data from dermatology clinics show that the range and type of skin diseases appear to be different for ethnic groups. Moreover, the cultural viewpoint should be used in the assessment and perception of skin disease because ethnic groups may differ in their views of the diseases. Most data on skin diseases in the general population come from Western subjects who have been diagnosed in hospitals. Self-reported cases on skin morbidity have shown that skin disease is related to overall poor health and low socioeconomic status. Thus, the goal of this research study was to determine the presence of ethnic differences in self-reported skin morbidity among adults of ethnic groups in a Norwegian urban community.
The study design was cross-sectional, involving residents of Oslo County in Norway. A questionnaire was mailed to 40,888 individuals, of which 18,747 responded. The invitation to participate was based on the participant’s age, socio-demographic status, and country of birth. The questionnaires obtained information on socio-demographic factors and aspects of health and self-reported health conditions, which included details on health conditions. From their responses, participants were further grouped based on migration history, diet, language and religion. One hundred fifteen nationalities were represented in the sample and were classified according to their region of origin and income. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.
The sample population had an approximately uniform age and contained more females. Eighty-four percent of the sample was from Norway, with the rest coming from Western countries, Eastern Europe, East Asia, Middle East, India and Africa. In men, more reports of skin itch came from East Asians, while dry and sore skin was more common in those from Middle East and North Africa. Hair loss was the main complaint of Indian, Middle Eastern and North African males. In contrast, the women reported different skin problems. Pimples prevailed in Africans, and sweat in Eastern Europeans, Middle Easters, and North Africans. Hair loss was also reported by women of the Indian Subcontinent, Africa and Middle East. Except for East Asia, more reports of skin morbidity came from the women participants.
In conclusion, the report showed that self-reported skin morbidity differed significantly among ethnic groups and gender in a Western urban population.
The results of the article are significant because they provide baseline information on the prevalence of symptoms of skin diseases in ethnic minorities. However, because only the symptoms are reported, there is no concrete picture of the actual skin diseases present in the ethnic population. Other variables such as income and education were not correlated to the prevalence of skin diseases. A limitation of the study is the large number of respondents from the comparator population, which is Norway, and the large heterogeneity of the ethnic groups. The large number of responses from Norway dilutes the mean; in contrast, the low number of respondents in the ethnic groups increases the possibility of bias. Another limitation is the use of non-clinical questionnaires designed for Norwegians. The questions were not structured for ethnic minorities, and did not include issues related to dark skin. These limitations make the interpretation of results difficult. Therefore, additional studies are needed to validate the claims that the differences observed in self-reported skin morbidity among ethnic minorities are really significant. Read More
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