Atopic dermatitis

Description of Atopic dermatitis

Description
 
Eczema is a condition wherein patches of skin become rough and inflamed. These patches may itch or bleed. Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis.  

Different types of eczema include:
1. Infantile eczema: This kind of eczema begins during infancy. In infants, the itchy patches tend to develop on the scalp and face. For some children, the condition completely resolves by the time they are 2 years old. 
2. Hand eczema: Having atopic dermatitis increases the risk of developing hand eczema. Some people whose atopic dermatitis clears during adolescence can develop hand eczema later.

Causes and Risk Factors
 
Common causes and triggers are:
1. Certain foods and juices
2. Everyday objects like wool and other fabric
3. Jewelry
4. Overexposure to an irritant or allergen
 
Signs and Symptoms
 
1. In infants, the patches usually appear on the scalp and face.
2. During the teenage and young-adult years, the itchy patches often develop on the elbows and knees, hands, feet, ankles, wrists, face, neck, and upper chest, around the eyes and on the eyelids.
3. These patches are typically dry, red to brownish-gray, and may be scaly or have thickened skin.

Scratching often leads to:
a) Redness
b) Swelling
c) Cracking
d) Release of clear fluid
e) Crusting and scaling of the skin
 
Complications
 
Complications include:
1. Severe infections secondary to scratching
2. Dark pigmentation on healing of the inflamed skin
3. Psychological trauma due to frustration
4. Irritation due to irritable skin
 
Investigations
 
1. Skin tests and blood tests can identify a food allergy, asthma, and hay fever. These tests are seldom helpful for identifying the cause of eczema
2. Long-term steroids and immunosuppressants may cause complications such as skin atrophy, secondary infections, weight gain, diabetes, etc. may be possible
 
Prevention
 
Preventive measures include:
1. Avoid triggers
3. Protect hands against soaps, cleansers, and other chemicals by wearing gloves.
4. Use lukewarm water and less soap when washing the hands.
5. To keep hands soft and supple, apply moisturizers throughout the day.
 
Treatment
 
1. A combination of therapies along with lifestyle changes can help to manage the disease.
2. You may be recommended to apply corticosteroid or one of the newer immunomodulators to the skin to reduce the inflammation and itch.
3. You may be prescribed an antibiotic in case of an infection.
4. For severe cases, ultraviolet (UV) light therapy or oral immunosuppressing agents may be given.
 
Content Details
Last updated on:
05 Sep 2017 | 09:54 AM (IST)
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