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What serious illnesses can itching be a symptom of?

ANSWER

Itchiness usually has a simple, common cause. But in some cases, if it doesn’t go away, it could be a sign of a serious illness, such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Certain cancers, particularly Hodgkin’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Iron deficiency
  • HIV

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Skin Allergy.”

American Academy of Dermatology.

Jain, S. Current Psychiatry, October 2013.

Moses, S. American Family Physician, September 2003.

National Cancer Institute: “Pruritus.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis.”

Oaklander, A. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, March 2012.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation: “Pruritus.”

Yonova, D. Hippokratia, April-June 2007.

Yosipovitch, G. Dermatologic Therapy, March 2008.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on December 9, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Skin Allergy.”

American Academy of Dermatology.

Jain, S. Current Psychiatry, October 2013.

Moses, S. American Family Physician, September 2003.

National Cancer Institute: “Pruritus.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis.”

Oaklander, A. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, March 2012.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation: “Pruritus.”

Yonova, D. Hippokratia, April-June 2007.

Yosipovitch, G. Dermatologic Therapy, March 2008.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on December 9, 2019

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What treatments for illnesses are causes of itching?

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