Atopic Dermatitis – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 19 21:22 2019 Print This Article

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects the skin. The word “dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin. “Atopic” refers to a group of diseases that are hereditary. It is not a contagious disease (i.e cannot be easily passed from one person to other). The disease is most common in babies or very young children, and once caused, then it may last until the child reaches adolescence. Atopic dermatitis, commonly referred to as eczema, is a chronic allergic skin disorder. In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy. Scratching leads to redness, swelling, cracking, “weeping” clear fluid, and finally, crusting and scaling and is usually seen on the face, elbows, knees, and arms. Atopic dermatitis usually occurs in people who have an ‘atopic tendency’. This means they may develop any or all of three closely linked conditions; atopic dermatitis, asthma and hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Often these conditions run within families with a parent, child or sibling also affected. A family history of asthma, eczema or hay fever is particularly useful in diagnosing atopic dermatitis in infants.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, itchy skin condition that is very common in children but may occur at any age. It is also known as eczema and atopic eczema. Atopic dermatitis may be worse when you are exposed to certain foods, infection, stress, seasonal or climate changes, irritants (such as soaps or chemicals), or allergens (such as dust mites or animal dander ). Atopic dermatitis is most common in babies and children. Although older studies have indicated that most children outgrow the condition, more recent studies report that many people continue to have relapses or to have the condition, although not as severely, as teenagers and adults. Atopic dermatitis is often related to other allergic conditions. More than 50% of people with atopic dermatitis later develop asthma and 75% develop allergic rhinitis.

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

The cause of the Atopic Dermatitis is unknown. The cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, but the disease seems to result from a combination of genetic (hereditary) and environmental factors. In the past, doctors thought that atopic dermatitis was caused by an emotional disorder. We now know that emotional factors, such as stress, can make the condition worse, but they do not cause the disease.

Find common causes and risk factors of Atopic Dermatitis:

  • A family history of asthma, hay fever, or atopic dermatitis.
  • Low humidity, may lead to atopic dermatitis.
  • A combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • Certain viruses, for example, the herpes simplex virus.
  • Chlorine in swimming pools, also cause atopic dermatitis.
  • Atopic dermatitis is most common in winter seasons.

Signs and Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Redness and swelling of the skin
  • Small bumps that open and weep when scratched.
  • Increased number of skin creases on the palms.
  • An extra fold of skin that develops under the eye.

Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis

Treatment is not effective until there is no further contact with the substance causing the problem. Once the substance is removed, the redness usually disappears after a week. Sometimes over-the-counter preparations are used. Topical steroids may be prescribed to reduce skin inflammation during an eczema flare-up. Topical steroids come in four strengths: mild, moderately potent, potent, and very potent. Corticosteroid creams and ointments have been used for many years to treat atopic dermatitis and other autoimmune diseases affecting the skin.

Treatment may include:

  • Ultraviolet light therapy may be of some help in chronic eczema that does not respond well to other therapy.
  • Antihistamines are also often used as part of a good treatment regimen for eczema. This is very beneficial for the fast recovery.
  • Skin creams or ointments that control swelling and lower allergic reactions.
  • Apply lubricant immediately following the bath.
  • The lukewarm baths is also a effective treatment for atopic dermatitis.
  • Antibiotics to treat infections caused by bacteria.
  • A mix of light therapy and a drug called psoralen.
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