Friday, 12 July 2013
Angular cheilitis, an inflammatory skin condition affecting the labial commissures or the mouth angles, is often associated with vitamin deficiency, particularly vitamin B12. Is this true? Does vitamin B deficiency really cause this skin problem otherwise known as perleche or cheilosis?
To answer the question, it’s both a yes and a no.
Deficiency in vitamin B12 does not directly cause the skin condition. Just because you’re deficient in this vitamin doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically suffer from angular cheilitis, or that if you have angular cheilitis, it’s solely because you’re not getting enough vitamin B12.
The truth is, vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the many things that can trigger its onset. Why? Anything that weakens the immune resistance can make a person vulnerable to a multitude of infections including angular cheilitis.
Although there’s no specific study linking vitamin B12 deficiency to angular cheilitis, it has been found by several researchers that insufficient in B12 can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to various types of infections.
In one study involving vitamin B12 deficient patients, it was revealed that chronic coughs due to bacterial infection in upper respiratory tract were greatly reduced after intake of vitamin B12 supplements. These findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Another study, this one conducted by an Australian research team from Monash University and University of Melbourne, found that vitamin B synthesis was effective in activating specialized immune cells to combat bacteria and yeast. It makes the body more capable of fighting infections.
Safe it is to say that though vitamin B12 deficiency will not immediately put you at risk of angular cheilitis, it’s better to ensure sufficient intake of this vitamin. Not only would this reduce likelihood of developing angular cheilitis, it will also help speed up your recovery if ever you succumb to it, and improve your health in general.
Vitamin B12 supplement is always a good idea. But you’d also have to improve the quality of your diet. Best food sources of vitamin B12 include lean meat, poultry, seafood, beans, and dark leafy greens, among many others.
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Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:24
Thursday, 11 July 2013
A Quick but Definitive Guide to Angular Cheilitis or Perleche
Every important thing you need to know about angular cheilitis is included in this quick but definitive guide. If you or anyone you know is suffering from this frustrating skin condition, the first step in getting rid of the problem permanently is learning more about it.
Angular cheilitis refers to a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that affects the labial commissures or the mouth corners. Apart from the French term “perleche,” it is also called by several other names such as cheilosis, angular stomatitis, and mouth corner cracks.
Any (or a combination) of the following can trigger the onset of this skin problem:
- Accumulation of saliva in the corners of the mouth
- Dry chapped lips
- Bacteria, yeasts, fungi or virus
- Skin conditions like contact dermatitis
- Habits that cause saliva accumulation or spread of bacteria or fungi (thumb-sucking, fingernail biting, use of pacifier and so on)
- Medical conditions that weaken the immune system
- Poor-fitting dentures
- Cold weather that causes skin dryness and chapping
Here’s a brief look at the top predisposing factors that put people at risk of angular cheilitis:
- Oral thrush in babies, elderly, diabetics, or people who use antibiotics
- Malnutrition (iron or riboflavin deficiency)
- Systemic ailments like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Sensitive skin
- Genetic predisposition
Angular cheilitis’ manifestations include the following:
- Cracks, splits and fissures on the corners of the mouth
- Pain, swelling, itchiness and bleeding in the affected areas
- Blisters, erosions and crusting
To diagnose angular cheilitis, a doctor will perform a culture test by taking a swab from the mouth corners. This will reveal the existence of microorganisms like Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus.
The good news is, angular cheilitis can possibly go away on its own without treatment. But of course, since the symptoms are often painful and bothersome, you’d want to do something about it instead of just wait. These treatment methods have been proven effective in curbing this skin problem:
- Moisturizing lip balm
- Antibacterial medications
- Anti-fungal topical ointments
- Nutritional supplements
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:21
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
A Close Look at Angular Cheilitis and Oral Herpes
Angular cheilitis is often mistaken as oral herpes. Since the latter is highly contagious and thus, a lot more prevalent, it’s understandable that more people are familiar about it. But it’s very important to learn to distinguish between the two. Not only could confusion result in misdiagnosis, it can also lead to incorrect treatment. So that won’t happen, it’s best to educate yourself about the basics of these two mouth conditions.
Angular cheilitis is a chronic condition involving the corner of the mouth’s skin. It can be a fungal, bacterial or viral infection. It may occur only on one side of the mouth or on both sides. It doesn’t choose its victim, as it affects both genders and all ages. There’s a slight increase of risk, however, among children, elderly and people who have compromised immune resistance. This condition, which can last for a few weeks and then heal on its own, affects movement of the mouth, making talking, eating and smiling a challenge.
Various factors can trigger the onset of angular cheilitis. The most common causes include nutritional deficiency, poor-fitting dentures, use of expired cosmetic products, certain medical conditions, use of pacifier or feeding bottles among babies, thumb-sucking or fingernail-biting habits, cold weather, stress, and chapped lips.
The bottom line is this: any activity that causes accumulation of skin-drying saliva on the corners of the mouth (poor-fitting dentures, use of pacifier, or thumb sucking) that results in crack formation combined with any factor that weakens the immune system, making a person susceptible to infection (iron or vitamin B deficiency, stress, or sickness), can cause angular cheilitis.
The most obvious symptom of this inflammatory skin condition is the appearance of open lesions on the corners of the mouth. These open lesions usually start from dry, flaky and chapped skin. Eventually, they turn into deep cracks or splits. When saliva or any other source of bacteria or fungi come into contact with those cracks and splits, and penetrate into them, that’s when infection happens.
Soon, the area will become inflamed and red. These are signs that the body’s immune system is trying to fight off the invaders. If that works, the redness and swelling will go away after a few days or weeks. If not, the cracks will turn into ulcers, which may bleed whenever the mouth is opened.
To diagnose angular cheilitis, a culture test is performed. It determines if the condition is a result of a fungal, bacterial or viral infection. A doctor will perform the test by getting a swab from the affected area of the mouth. This will then be tested for traces of microbes like Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus.
Treatment is usually a combination of topical ointment or cream (antibacterial or fungal) and elimination of the trigger. Even if you manage to combat the fungi or bacteria causing the infection but fail to get rid of the primary cause of the condition, it’s likely to recur. For example, if you’re suffering from a certain medical condition that makes your immune resistance weak, then you’ll probably get the infection over and over.
This is why, you need to strengthen your immune defense with proper diet and exercise. If you’re deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, especially vitamin B12 or iron, it’s a must to get nutritional supplements to fight the problem more effectively. You also need to get immediate medical care if you’re suffering from any underlying condition that’s causing your angular cheilitis.
Compared to angular cheilitis, oral herpes is a lot more common. It affects over 50 percent of the adult population in the United States. It’s probably because this skin condition is highly contagious. It can easily be transmitted from one person to another by sharing items or coming into close contact (e.g. kissing).
This mouth disorder, which is marked by red and swollen blisters around the mouth, can go away without treatment in two to four weeks. It can go through three stages: primary infection, latency and recurrence. During the first stage, the virus enters the skin and reproduces, creating cold sores accompanied by fever. If it doesn’t occur with any sores or other symptoms, it’s referred to as the asymptomatic type of infection.
During the latency stage, the virus moves from the site of infection to a nerve tissue mass located in the spine called the dorsal root ganglion. Here, it reproduces again before deactivating. By this time, you’ll find yourself relieved of symptoms. But when the body undergoes emotional or physical stress, the virus reactivates and this is known as the third stage or recurrence.
This condition, otherwise known as cold sores, can affect all ages at any time of the year. It is caused by a virus called by herpes simplex virus. This virus comes in two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is accountable for 80 percent of oral herpes cases.
As for the symptoms, the first one is the appearance of painful sores on the lips, tongue, gums, roof of the mouth, and inside the cheeks. These can be painful, burning and itchy. These may be accompanied by fever, muscle aches, exhaustion, irritability and gray coating on the tongue or tonsils. When the blisters erupt, they form shallow gray ulcers before turning into dry scabs.
Doctors can easily identify oral herpes based on the physical appearance of the blisters. But if the condition requires a more definitive diagnosis, your doctor will perform laboratory tests including culture analysis, antigen and antibody studies, blood sampling, and staining test (Tzanck smear).
Alleviating the symptoms is one of the first treatment steps for oral herpes. For fever and muscle pain, acetaminophen like Tylenol or ibuprofen such as Advil, Excedrin or Motrin is given. The doctor will also advice intake of plenty of fluids for dehydration prevention. Oral or intravenous medications for oral herpes are only advised for people with severe infections and extremely weak immune systems.
As you can see, these two mouth conditions have countless differences. Although they may look similar, they have different causes, symptoms and treatment methods.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:18
Discover the Various Mouth Illnesses Similar to Angular Cheilitis
The fact that angular cheilitis is similar to many other types of mouth illnesses can make treatment difficult. There is a bigger chance of improper self-diagnosis and wrong treatment. To avoid confusion, it’s important to know that this inflammatory skin condition occurs only on the corners of the mouth or the mouth angles, thus the name.
It can be triggered by a number of factors including fungal or bacterial infections, poor-fitting dentures, vitamin B or iron deficiency, and cold weather. Unlike other mouth disorders like cold sore, it’s not contagious. It can’t even spread to other parts of the body.
Here are some of the mouth disorders commonly mistaken as angular cheilitis:
Angular cheilitis versus cold sores
Cold sores, otherwise known as oral herpes, are caused by a virus called herpes simplex (HSV-1). While angular cheilitis manifests itself as deep cracks or splits on the corners of the mouth, this condition causes the appearance of several blisters around the mouth area, not just on the corners. These blisters can grow bigger until they burst and form a scab.
Cold sores can fully heal within 14 to 20 days. And because it’s highly contagious, it’s a lot more common than angular cheilitis. In fact, according to the American Sexual Health Association, over 50 percent of the adults in the United States have cold sores.
Angular cheilitis versus mouth ulcers
Commonly affecting people ages 16 to 25 years old, mouth ulcers refer to open lesions inside the mouth that penetrate into the mucus membrane. Unlike angular cheilitis that’s limited on the mouth’s corners, this one can develop inside the lips, inside the cheeks, on the gums, and under the tongue. Since it’s usually caused by trauma (such as accidental biting of the lip or cheek), mouth ulcer is not contagious. Healing time is also quick—from a few days to a week.
Angular cheilitis versus chapped lips
The two mouth disorders mentioned above are totally unrelated to angular cheilitis. But this one, though a different condition, can be a possible precursor. As you know, skin dryness is a leading cause of angular cheilitis since dry skin is more prone to crack formation. When cracks form and bacteria or fungi set in, that’s when the problem turns into an infection.
Chapped lips are very common especially for people living in cold weather. Although it doesn’t automatically lead to angular cheilitis, it pays to be careful. Don’t make the mistake of licking your lips to “moisturize” it. Doing so accomplishes the opposite. Saliva only dries up the skin even further. Not to mention, it has a lot of bacteria and fungi that can cause infection.
Whether it’s angular cheilitis, oral herpes, mouth ulcer or simply chapped lips, it’s imperative to resolve the problem right away before it gets worse. Consult your doctor to get proper diagnosis especially if you’re not so sure what particular type of condition you have. This way, you’ll be able to apply the proper suitable treatment that will give you long-term results.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:07
Preventing and Treating Angular Cheilitis in Children
Children’s immune systems are not that strong yet, which is why they’re more vulnerable to infections than adults. Babies in particular are at big risk, suffering from a high number of infections once every one to two months.
There’s a long list of common pediatric infections that affect babies and young children every year. These include ear infections, diarrhea, flu, and urinary tract infections, among many others. Common cold is the most prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s an annual rate of one billion common cold cases in the United States.
Although not as rife as the common cold, angular cheilitis can also pose a serious problem to children. Angular cheilitis is a skin disorder characterized with scaling and fissures on the corners of the mouth.
It affects children who are sick, are under constant stress, or are deficient in nutrients since infections can get into the body easier when the immune resistance is weak. It’s also common in kids who drool while sleeping or eating, or babies who use pacifiers as saliva accumulation on the mouth corners can lead to the formation of cracks. Those who bite their fingernails or suck their thumbs out of habit are also more prone to this infection.
Apart from these, children are also more susceptible to this condition because they’re more sensitive to extreme changes in temperature. Dry and cold weather can trigger angular cheilitis because it makes the skin more prone to chapping and drying, and this can eventually lead to cracking and infections.
Treating angular cheilitis in children and preventing its recurrence requires finding out what exactly is causing the problem. Home remedies usually work but only to alleviate the symptoms like redness, swelling, and itchiness. Now, in order to get rid of the problem for good, the root cause should be eliminated.
For example, if iron-deficiency anemia is said to be causing the problem, then the child’s parents should feed him with a diet that’s high in iron. For kids, the best sources of iron include lean meat, poultry, fortified cereals and oatmeal, tofu, soybeans, lentils, beans, spinach, collard greens, kale, whole wheat bread and raisins. Iron supplements can also help.
If angular cheilitis is triggered by habits like thumb-sucking or the use of pacifier, these should be eliminated in order for the skin condition to be fully treated. As angular cheilitis can also be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, then fighting the problem with the use of antibacterial or anti-fungal medications can be the best recourse.
Don’t let your kid suffer from this problem long enough. Get to the bottom of the issue and resolve whatever it is that’s causing those painful and itchy cracks on the corners of your child’s mouth.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:03
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
What is the Best Angular Cheilitis Home Remedy?
Angular cheilitis, a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin caused by fungus, bacteria or virus, triggers the formation of cracks on the mouth’s angles. Sometimes, it occurs only on one side but more often, bilaterally. Tell-tale signs include redness and inflammation, deep cracks, bleeding, and shallow ulcers on the corners of the mouth.
It’s rooted from various causes. On top of the list, we have nutritional deficiencies, especially iron and vitamin B12; weakened immune resistance; bacterial, fungal or viral infections, dry and cold weather that lead to chapped skin on the lips; poor-fitting dentures; and accumulation of saliva on the mouth corners.
This skin condition is usually painful, itchy, unsightly and annoying. People who suffer from this problem are always in the search for effective but safe home remedies, which is why experts are often asked this question: What is the best angular cheilitis home remedy?
There’s no single answer to this question, as it actually depends on what works best for you. What’s effective for some people are not for others. Your best bet is to try different methods to find out which one will give you quick and long-term solution.
Here are some of those that you’d want to try:
- Aloe vera – Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for various minor ailments. For angular cheilitis, it is said to provide relief by soothing and toning down the inflammation. What you need to do is to get a little bit of gel from the inner part of the plant and apply over the affected area. This has worked for many people because aloe vera has the ability to boost the repair of skin tissue and promote regeneration of the cells.
- Cocoa butter – Cocoa butter is an efficient skin moisturizer. It doesn’t only prevent chapped lips but also helps solve the problem of angular cheilitis. Put a small amount of cocoa butter (preferably the all-natural kind) on the affected area. Leave it on for the rest of the day. You can also choose to apply it several times about two to three times daily. This will bring back the moisture to the cracks on the mouth corners and treat the inflammation.
- Neem leaves – To get rid of angular cheilitis, you also need to fight the infection. Use neem leaves for this job. Crush a small amount of fresh neem leaves to extract the juice. Apply it on the corners of the lips to help destroy the bacteria or fungi causing the infection.
- Honey – Another efficient way to combat bacteria and fungi is with honey. It’s hard to imagine how this sweet substance can fight microorganisms but you’ll be surprised as to how well it can do the task. Discover its efficacy by applying some on the affected area and leave it on for about 15 minutes twice or thrice a day. For quicker results, use in combination with fresh cucumber slices.
- Water – One factor that leads to angular cheilitis is dryness. That’s why, it’s a must to keep your body hydrated. Increase your water intake. It should be at least 10 glasses of water a day. This is a good remedy for cracked and dry lip corners. Use a straw though so that moisture won’t accumulate in those areas.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:59
Monday, 8 July 2013
Angular Cheilitis and HIV: What’s the Connection?
If you search online for information about angular cheilitis, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something that tells you it’s a common symptom of HIV. And if you think you have angular cheilitis, this is more than enough to make you panic. Don’t. At least for now.
Angular cheilitis is not a common symptom of HIV. Having this inflammatory skin condition that affects the corners of the mouth’s skin is not a good indicator of HIV. Before we get to that, let’s learn more about these two medical conditions first in order to better understand why they are commonly associated with each other.
Angular cheilitis is an infection of the skin on the corners of the mouth. This is due to the accumulation of saliva on these areas that leave the skin dry and prone to chapping. Extreme chapping can lead to the formation of cracks, which in time can become infected as more bacteria- and fungi-containing saliva get into them. However, infection doesn’t happen automatically. It only occurs when the body’s immune resistance is weak.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions have HIV infection, with nearly 20 percent unaware of it. All over the world, there’s an average of 1.5 million deaths per year, as reported by the Worldwide HIV and AIDS statistics of Avert.org.
The virus comes into types: HIV-1 and HIV-2. The more common and what is referred to by HIV is HIV-1. Both types of viruses destroy specific cells in the blood—the CD4+ T cells, which are the ones responsible for curbing illnesses. AIDs can therefore weaken the immune system greatly and make patients a lot more susceptible to diseases and infections.
HIV can be found in the infected person’s bodily fluids including blood, breast milk, vaginal fluids, semen, and so on. This is why, it can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse or blood transfusion. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child during pregnancy or to a baby through breastfeeding.
Being a deadly disease with no cure, HIV and AIDS are greatly feared. This and the social stigma that comes with acquiring this medical condition definitely make a person with AIDS suffer a lot. It’s good to know though that there are many forms of treatment that can slow down the progress of this disease, helping people infected with HIV live a good quality life.
The reason angular cheilitis is being linked to HIV is because both are triggered by weak immune systems. When the body’s immune resistance is very weak, it becomes easy to develop infections including angular cheilitis. But again, it doesn’t mean that just because you have inflammation on the corners of your mouth, you’re already infected with HIV. It can be caused by many other factors. If it would make you feel better, have yourself tested for HIV to have that peace of mind you’re looking for. Once you find out that it’s not the cause of your angular cheilitis, move on and find out what truly is causing it so you can get the suitable proper treatment.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:56