When a patient is diagnosed with eczema, the diagnosis of another medical condition may not be far behind.
“Although it affects the skin, eczema is not just skin-deep. This disease can have a serious impact on patients’ quality of life and overall health, both physically and mentally,” says board-certified dermatologist Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAD, an assistant professor in dermatology, medical social sciences and preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is characterized by dry, red patches of skin accompanied by intense itchiness. Although this disease is most often diagnosed in infancy and early childhood, it may continue or first emerge later in life for some patients. Recent estimates indicate that atopic dermatitis affects one in four children in the United States, as well as up to 7 million adults.
According to Dr. Silverberg, this disease can increase patients’ risk of developing allergic disorders like asthma, hay fever and food allergy, as well as other health conditions like obesity and cardiovascular disease. Although the exact reasons for these connections are unclear, he says, they may be the result of eczema-related inflammation affecting the entire body, or atopic dermatitis symptoms negatively impacting patients’ sleep and health habits.
Read more at American Academy of Dermatology