Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Butterflies.....................


Skin is a pretty amazing organ. It’s gone through a continuous regeneration procedure where new skin cells (keratinocyte) are born and replace the dead cells that slough off. Before the dead skin cells peels off, they actually serve as the barrier which protects the younger skin and internal organs beneath from exposure to the elements, radiation from the sun and infection from bacteria.
Human skin also has a defense system which goes to work when its integrity gets compromised by injuries from friction or heat. We can see this system in action every time a blister forms on our skin.
When skin is irritated by friction or exposure to high temperatures, the layers can loosen. When this occurs, the empty pocket between the two layers~ ‘epidermis’ & ‘dermis’ [‘Epidermis’ is the outer layer while ‘Dermis’ is the underlying layer] ~ is filled with a fluid called serum’. This serum serves as a cushion that allows the immature, tender skin beneath to heal, a process called re-epithelialization. When it is done, the injured outside layer deadens and falls off.
‘Blister’ is a normal and beneficial reaction to damaged skin. For most of us, they pose little more than a nuisance. But for people who suffer from a condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), the blisters can be life-threatening.

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a inherited disorder where mutations on 10 genes lead to a heightened blister response in the sufferer's skin. People who suffers with EB have fragile skin; mild heat and friction can create injuries and cause blisters. While blisters can be painful, consistent and prolonged blistering can also pose a risk to a person's health, as it increases the likelihood that a blister will become infected. [NIAMS]

‘Butterfly children’ is a term often used to describe younger patients—because, the skin is said to be as fragile as a butterfly’s wing. The severe pain hardly allows patients with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)  to live a normal life. It is even difficult for the patients to walk because the stress on the soles of the feet causes stabbing pain.

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