Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitisAtopic dermatitis Description, Causes and Risk Factors: Atopic dermatitis is an itchy inflammation of your skin. It is a long-lasting (chronic) condition that may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. Atopic dermatitis may affect any area of your skin, but it typically appears on your arms and behind your knees. It tends to flare periodically and then subside. The cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, but it may result from a combination of inherited tendencies for sensitive skin and malfunction in the body's immune system. The exact cause of atopic dermatitis (eczema) is unknown, but it is likely due to a combination of dry, irritable skin with a malfunction in the body's immune system. Stress and other emotional disorders can worsen atopic dermatitis, but they do not cause it. Most experts believe atopic dermatitis has a genetic basis. It has been thought to be connected to asthma and hay fever, but that theory is being questioned. Not all people with atopic dermatitis have asthma or hay fever, and not all people with asthma or hay fever develop atopic dermatitis, but these diseases do seem to be present together in families of those affected. Self-care measures, such as avoiding soaps or other irritants and applying creams or ointments, can help relieve itching. See your PCP/Dermatology if your symptoms distract you from your daily routines or prevent you from sleeping. Atopic dermatitis is most common in babies and children. But it can happen to anyone. People who live in cities and dry climates may be more likely to get this disease. When children with atopic dermatitis grow older, this problem can improve or go away. But the skin may stay dry and easy to irritate. At other times, atopic dermatitis is a problem in adulthood. Symptoms: Typical skin changes may include:
  • Blisters with oozing and crusting.
  • Dry skin all over the body or areas of bumpy skin on the back of the arms and front of the thighs.
  • Ear discharge or bleeding.
  • Raw areas of the skin from scratching.
  • Skin coloring changes -- more or less color than the normal skin tone (See: Skin abnormally dark or light).
  • Skin redness or inflammation around the blisters.
  • Thickened or leather-like areas, called lichenification, which can occur after long-term irritation and scratching.
Diagnosis: The healthcare provider will give you an exam and look at your skin. A physical exam will be done. You may need a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other causes of dry, itchy skin. Diagnosis is based on the:
  • How the skin looks.
  • Personal and family history.
  • Allergy skin testing may be helpful for people with:
  • Hard-to-treat atopic dermatitis.
  • Other allergy symptoms.
  • Skin rashes that form only on certain areas of the body after exposure to a specific chemical.
Treatment: Atopic dermatitis is a long-term condition. You can control it with treatment, by avoiding irritants, and by keeping the skin well-moisturized. In children, the condition often starts to go away around age 5 - 6, but flare-ups will often occur. In adults, the problem is generally a long-term or returning condition. Atopic dermatitis may be harder to control if it:
  • Begins at an early age.
  • Involves a large amount of the body.
  • Occurs along with allergic rhinitis and asthma.
  • Occurs in someone with a family history of eczema.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.  

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