- by Medikoe Health Expert
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- Nov 14 2017
Eczema is a disorder where areas of skin become itchy, inflamed, cracked, red, and rough. Blisters can also occur. It affects a large part of the American population to a greater or lesser degree.
The word eczema is also used mainly to refer to atopic dermatitis, the most common kind of eczema.
What is eczema?
Common symptoms of eczema involve portions of itchy, red, thickened skin.
The term 'eczema' is used in 2 different ways. It can be used broadly to describe any rash-like skin problems.
Or it can be used to state atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin disorder that generally starts during early childhood and continues through into childhood.
Some individuals outgrow the disorder while some individuals will continue to have it into adulthood.
The word "atopic" refers to a group of diseases involving the immune system, including hay fever, atopic dermatitis and asthma. "Dermatitis" means inflammation of the skin.
Causes of eczema:
The discrete cause of eczema remains unknown, but it is believed to evolve due to a mixture of hereditary (genetic) and environmental or climatic elements.
If a parent has had it or another atopic disease, children are more likely to develop eczema. The chances increase further, if both parents have an atopic disease.
Environmental elements are also known to bring out the symptoms of eczema. These involve:
Irritants - shampoos, soaps, disinfectants, detergents, juices from fresh fruits, vegetables or meats.
Allergens – dandruff, dust mites, pollens, pets, mold,
Microbes - bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, viruses, specific fungi
Hot and cold temperatures - high and low humidity, hot weather, sweat from exercise
Foods - eggs, dairy products, seeds, nuts, wheat and soy products
Stress - it is not an origin of eczema but can make indications adverse
Hormones - at times when their hormone intensity are changing, women can encounter worsening of eczema symptoms, for example during pregnancy and at specific points in their menstrual cycle.
Symptoms of eczema:
Atopic dermatitis generally shows itself in infants with scaly and dry patches developing on the skin. These portions are often dreadfully itchy. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can differ, depending on the age of the person with the disorder.
Most individuals develop atopic dermatitis before the age of five. Half of those who develop the disorder in childhood continue to have signs as an adult, though these indications are often different to those experienced by children.
People with the condition will frequently experience phase of time where their symptoms will flash up or worsen, followed by spell of time where their symptoms will clear up or improve.
Rashes generally appear on cheeks and scalp.
Before weeping fluid the rashes usually bubble up.
Rashes can cause intense itchiness, which may affect the sleep and the person will have trouble sleeping.
Constant scratching and rubbing can cause skin infections.
Children, from two years old to puberty:
Rashes generally appear behind the creases of knees or elbows
Also frequent on wrists, neck, ankles, folds between legs and buttocks
Over time, the below symptoms can show:
Rashes can become uneven, like goosebumps
Rashes can darken or lighten in color
Rashes can become thicker-also known as lichenification) and then evolve knots and an indefinite itch
Rashes generally appear in folds of knees or elbows or nape of neck
Rashes cover much of the body
Rashes can be especially notable on face, neck, and around the eyes
Rashes can lead to very dry skin
Rashes can be invariably itchy
Rashes can cause scaly skin-more scaly than in children
Rashes can cause skin infections
Adults who evolve atopic dermatitis as a child but no longer experience the disorder may still have eye problems, dry or easily irritated skin or hand eczema.
The occurrence of skin affected by atopic dermatitis will rely on how much a person scratches and whether the skin is infected. Rubbing and scratching bothers the skin further, elevates inflammation and makes itchiness worse.
Types of eczema:
There are many different kinds of eczema.
Dermatitis or Allergic contact eczema - a skin reaction after contact with a substance that the immune system identifies as foreign
Contact eczema - a confined reaction where the skin has come into contact with an allergen
Dyshidrotic eczema - irritation of skin on soles of feet and on palms of hands and distinguished by blisters
Neurodermatitis - scaly patches of skin on forearms, head wrists, and lower legs caused by a confined itch such as an insect bite
Nummular eczema - circular patches of irritated skin that can be hard, itchy and scaling
Seborrheic eczema – scaly, oily, yellowish blotch of skin, generally on scalp and face
Stasis dermatitis - skin irritation on lower legs, normally associated to circulatory problems
Tests and diagnosis
The doctor may need to see a patient many times to make a correct diagnosis. This is because people with eczema experience individual blend of symptoms, which are inclined to differ in intensity over time.
Diagnosis is based mainly on the patient's symptoms, but medical history is also crucial.
A specialist will often ask about a patient's family history, other atopic diseases such as asthma and hay fever, possible vulnerability to irritants, whether any foods are associated to flare-ups, disturbed sleep, previous treatment for skin symptoms, and the use of steroids or other medications.
To diagnose eczema, there is no single test that is used.
The doctor may also try to rule out other problems that can cause skin irritations. This can include the following tests:
Administered food challenges
Skin prick testing
Treatments for eczema
There is no remedy for eczema. Treatment for the disorder focuses to heal the affected skin and prevent re occurrence of the symptoms. Specialist will recommend a plan of treatment based around a patient's age, symptoms, and current condition of health.
For some individuals, eczema goes away with time, and for others, it remains a lifelong disorder.
There are many things that people with eczema can do to support skin health and reduce symptoms.
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