Atopic dermatitis is probably the most common among eczema or rash-like skin conditions. It is usually very itchy and scratching only causes skin to become red and puffy. Although most common in infants, eczema can also affect children and adults.
Skin conditions like atopic dermatitis are known chronic diseases caused by allergic reactions. “Atopic” means inherited propensities towards asthma, dermatitis, and hay fever. On the other hand, “dermatitis” is a term that refers to red, dry, and itchy skin. Today, we’ll learn more about this skin condition and how we can help prevent it.
What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition diagnosed by noticeable dry, inflamed, and itchy skin patches. The exact causes of this skin condition aren’t well understood, but one factor may be an overproduction of cells in the immune system that helps promote inflammation.
Often starting in childhood, atopic dermatitis tends to flare up periodically. During this instance, people often affected scratch the affected area relentlessly. This unstoppable scratching can result in more skin inflammations, making symptoms far worse.
As of press time, a cure is yet to be discovered for atopic dermatitis. However, treatments are available that involve avoiding what triggers it, choosing lifestyle changes to help prevent it, and easing its symptoms through medication intake.
Atopic Dermatitis VS Eczema
Atopic dermatitis is often called eczema. But not get confused – the word “eczema” refers to a broader collective term for skin conditions, wherein atopic dermatitis is included. As a classified atopic disease, atopic dermatitis belongs to the same classification as:
- food allergies
- hay fever
Types of Atopic Dermatitis
Among all types of eczema that causes redness and itchiness, atopic dermatitis is perhaps the most severe and chronic. Other types of eczema include the following:
- Hand eczema – is a condition that affects only the hands, often resulting from frequent contact with irritating chemicals.
- Contact dermatitis – is a skin irritation caused by having contact with particular irritants.
- Dyshidrotic eczema – is an eczema type that develops on the fingers, palms, and the soles of the feet only.
- Neurodermatitis – also called lichenification, is characterized by thickened skin patches brought about by repeated scratching and rubbing.
- Nummular eczema – is another chronic condition that creates spots around the size of coins that are usually very itchy.
- Stasis dermatitis – is a type of skin irritation developing in people whose circulation is poor, typically in their lower legs.
Those in medicine, such as doctors and researchers, are working very hard to understand better how eczema works and what causes it to affect many people. Currently, there is no known cure for this common skin condition.
Primary symptoms of atopic dermatitis involve dry and itchy skin, often turning into red rashes during inevitable flare-ups. Many different physical and internal factors come into play in triggering eczema flare-ups. The resulting inflammations cause increased blood flow and uncontrollable urges of itching.
Atopic dermatitis flares involve agonizing cycles of continuous itching-then-scratching. It’s hard to resist these physical and psychological triggers that drive this cycle on a never-ending loop. Scratching makes you feel good during that time but eventually leads to more inflammations and even skin infections if not treated right away.
Atopic dermatitis has various symptoms that depend on the age of a person.
It is still unknown what exactly causes atopic dermatitis. It isn’t contagious, so no rash transmission is possible. Basic understandings of this skin condition state that misdirected immune reactions often result in inflammations. These immune reactions cause too many inflammatory skin cells, eventually causing many symptoms of atopic dermatitis to spring out.
Those who have the disease and suffer from atopic dermatitis tend to have dry skin due to an altered skin barrier. Skin affected by this condition is more prone to losing water and irritants entering uncontrollably. These conditions all lead to the further development of red, itchy rashes.
Atopic dermatitis flare-ups can have different triggers. However, everyday lifestyle and environmental triggers often include:
- allergens such as pollens, dander, and dusts
- cold, dry weather
- long, hot showers or baths
- physical irritants like dirt, sand, and smoke
- soaps, detergents, and cleaners
- strenuous exercise
- wool and synthetic fabrics
People at Risk
According to the CDC or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.2% of adults and 11.6% of children are known to have eczema or skin allergies in the United States alone. Although atopic dermatitis affects people of all ethnicities, the CDC data found that African American children have the highest tendencies and rates of experiencing this skin condition.
Furthermore, it has been estimated that 17.8 million people have atopic dermatitis, most of whom are undiagnosed. Around 10-30% of children and 2-10% of adults living in developed countries suffer from this skin condition, as indicated in a research study done in 2021. In addition, 80% of cases are experienced during childhood.
Through studies, however, the generic component seems to play a role in the occurrence of atopic dermatitis. Typically, people with this skin condition have family members affected by the disease. Additionally, modifications to the filaggrin gene have been linked as one of the risk factors for atopic dermatitis. People with this condition also have a higher likelihood of having other atopic conditions like asthma and other allergies.
Atopic dermatitis can result in cracked and broken skin, putting you at risk of having bacterial or viral infections, especially whenever you scratch the affected areas. Infection types like the viral infection eczema herpeticum can become severe. This condition manifests itself through signs such as:
- feeling feverish, frequent shivering, or feeling unwell in general
- fluid-filled blisters that start to break, leaving open sores
- painful eczema that becomes worse fast
If you think you are experiencing eczema herpeticum, seek the help of your doctor or healthcare provider right away for immediate medical attention. Some with atopic dermatitis tend to have poor self-confidence whenever they feel self-conscious about their skin. If itching is quite severe, this skin condition can result in poor sleep quality and lack thereof, probably negatively impacting one’s mood, behavior, and concentration.
Final Thoughts on Atopic Dermatitis
By learning about atopic dermatitis, what triggers it, and how to take good care of your skin to prevent it, you can start reducing the flare-ups and their frequency and severity. Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that doctors can now treat while experts are still developing the perfect cure.
Do you have atopic dermatitis and want to take care of it once and for all? It’s your lucky day! Our marvelous High-Life Integrative Medicine friends can help you with this skin query today. Visit them now! https://highlifeintegrativemed.com/