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Terry, Nurse, RN, BSN
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 693
Experience:  Adult/ Respiratory/ Neonatal ICU, Pediatric/Adolescent Care, Geriatrics, Patient/Parent Counseling
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skin redness and marks on my arms and upper chest area..Skin..itching

Resolved Question:

What can cause skin redness and marks on my arms and upper chest area? Skin is very sensitive to anything rubbing against it - will cause marks which will disappear in a few hours if left alone. Some itching but not a lot. No blisters or raised spots.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Terry replied 8 years ago.

Hello Bob,

Since you don't have any other significant symptoms, then it is safe to say that you have skin sensitivity. This can be more common with fair skinned people. Your skin may react to the pressure of what it is coming in contact with it, or it can react to the material. In the case of the blood pressure cuff, for instance, you most likely reacted to the increased pressur it provided against your skin. However, your skin may have been irritated from the material of the cuff or a chemical that was used to clean the cuff. If the mark is gone within in a couple hours, that is fine. If you are bruising from the contact then you should talk to the doctor about it.



Terry and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Terry's Post: I realize I obviously have some sort of skin sensitivity, but I am wondering what is causing it. It is not normal and has only developed over the past year and the sensitivity is increasing. Just to acknowledge that there is an abnormality is not giving me any direction as to precisely what is happening and how I can take steps to attempt to rectify it. I was hoping for some kind of definition of possible causes. Maybe I should see a specialist but I live in a remote Alaskan town where medical help is not the greatest. My lifestyle has been the same (i.e., eating habits; cleanliness; clothing and laundry products, etc.) so I am puzzled as to what is going on.
Expert:  Terry replied 8 years ago.


I don't have much more to offer except that you seek medical examination, but that might be a problem for you because of your location. It is difficult without being able to examine the skin and see what is happening. Oftentimes, with skin conditions, you need to keep a journal to see what is bothering you, and note when the problem occurs, so you can avoid the irritant or stimulant. A doctor can do blood tests to see if your red blood cell count is normal and can observe your skin.

If you would like, I can opt out of your question and allow another expert to help you.

Please let me know.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Terry's Post: Thank you for your prompt replies. This is the July 4 weekend so I don't expect an answer for a few days.

To give you more of a background of what is happening, last December while at work I began experiencing pectoral muscle pain which was intensified by cold weather. Each time I went out in the cold, the pain began. This is muscle pain which is very sensitive to the touch. I've been to the local clinic; the ER in Juneau, Alaska; seen a rheumatologist and a cardiologist in Anchorage; had two visits to a Doctor of Internal Medicine; seen a physiatrist; and another cardiologist in Juneau. All are in agreement that it is not heart related, but muscular in nature. At the time that the pain first occurred, I was indoors using a new cleaning agent, which I have not used again. I have told that to the doctors but they have discounted that as a possible cause of anything. But the redness on my skin was there at the time also. All of the physicians that I have seen discount my remarks about redness and itching, except for the PA who noticed it, but focused on the cause of my pectoral pain. I am doing well with only limited muscle pain during the warmer summer weather, but the skin redness is there daily. Upon arising, I can see small faint red spots on my inner arms and on the upper part of my chest and neck. The areas will turn into large red blotches (nothing pimply or scabby - just blotches of red) if I put a shirt on, which seems to irritate it somehow. I can see an area (about an inch or so by six to eight inches in the collarbone area) when I am shaving in front of a mirror. If I scratch the areas on the arms, they will itch - not severely, just an itching feeling. I am wondering if this muscle pain; itching; and redness have a common cause. Blood tests have turned out normal. My latest:

January 2008

Hematocrit        50.4%
Hemoglobin        16.2 g/dl
MCHC              32.1 g/dl
Total WBC          6.3 x10(9)/L
Granulocytes       4.1 x10(9)/L
% Granulocytes    65%
Lymphs+Monos       2.2x10(9)/L
%Lymphs+Monos     35%
Platelets        316 x10(9)/L

The blood analyst typed a note on the bottom of the test which read: POSSIBLE EARLY IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA. None of the doctors I saw were concerned about that.

My muscle strength is good, but I am already fearing the cooler weather, as even now on some cool damp days I experience the same upperchest pain (to the touch) to a lesser degree than in winter. At times when I am experiencing the most intense pain in that area, I can also touch my neck just above the collarbone, and it is painful (like a dull, sore pain) to light pressure. There is no swelling anywhere - no joint pain either.

None of the physicians I have seen have been able to render an opinion as to what is going on, except for the Internal Medicine doctor who said I was a "puzzle". The Physiatrist agreed with him. All sent me home without a diagnosis. So when you recomment that I see a doctor to have myself checked, I am fearful and already anticipating that it will just result in another doctor bill and travel expenses without a finding. What do I do? I still think all of these symptoms are related somehow. I am strong and work full time doing manual labor and do not miss any work, except to having requested being relieved of snow removal by hand during the winter. Help.

Expert:  Terry replied 8 years ago.

Hi again Bob,

I've read your reply carefully and am trying to give you insight. I have done some research and have some ideas and recommendations for you.

First, you have been seen by several specialists, and have not gotten a definitive diagnosis, which is good because perhaps nothing is wrong. Unfortunately it can take a long time to determine the cause of symptoms.

I would like you to see a skin specialist, a dermatologist, at your earliest convenience. Take pictures of the blotched areas when they appear so that you can show them to the doctor just in case they disappear when you have your visit (this happens quite often). Next, I recommend that you consult with an allergist to rule out any type of allergy that is causing the breakout. You can askyour doctor to do a rast profile which is a preliminary blood test that would indicate what you may be allergic to.

Next, ask your doctor (rheumatologist) if he did an arthritis profile on you and find out if you were tested yet for any auto-immune diseases such as Lupus. Some of this testing may have been done.

You described that you work alot and do manual labor, and you may be straining your pectoral muscles. I am trying to reach for different possiblities with you. Thank you for giving me some of your past history. You can consult with the doctors that you have seen, over the phone and demand more definitive answers. Find out what their plan is for you.

I hope all will be well with you!

I am here if you would like to talk further.