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Atopic dermatitis

21:54 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Atopic dermatitis?

Also known as eczema, it is a condition that causes irritation, itching, and reddish coloration of the skin, being more common in children, but also adults are susceptible to it.

It is chronic and goes through periods of low or no symptoms to intense episodes. Those who suffer from asthma or allergic rhinitis are more likely to experience eczema flare-ups. 

Although no cure has been found for this condition, there are palliative and preventive treatments, which, together with proper hygiene habits, can control the symptoms and the appearance of new crises. 

At home we can follow two basic recommendations: 

  • Do not use scented and irritating soaps, change them for hypoallergenic soaps with a low PH.
  • Regularly use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizers.

Atopic dermatitis is considered to arise due to a genetic abnormality that prevents the skin from being naturally moist and unable to protect itself against microbes, allergenic substances, and foods, as well as environmental factors. 

Symptoms

Eczema symptoms vary depending on the case, but they are generally: 

  • Medium to high intensity itching and irritation.
  • Reddish eruptive spots on the upper and lower limbs, neck, and face. 
  • Skin dryness that causes scales and cracks.
  • Small blisters that when scratched produce sores that can become infected. 

The first outbreaks usually begin between the ages of 5 and 6, in some cases earlier, and can manifest throughout the different stages of life, even in adulthood. Depending on the person, these recurring crises can often appear or disappear for a long time and come back. 

In order to control outbreaks and symptoms, and avoid complications, it is necessary that if you or your child have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment.

Diagnosis and treatment

Through a skin check, analysis of your medical history and your symptoms, your doctor can diagnose atopic dermatitis without the need for laboratory tests but may require patch tests to identify allergens or some additional study to make sure that there are no other skin conditions that can affect eczema aggravation. 

Being a chronic disease, even without appearing frequently, it usually has intense periodical outbreaks, so the treatment is for several years or for life, and even so, it is necessary to monitor it in order to modify it if required.

In addition to lifelong personal hygiene and care habits, treatment may include topical and oral medications to control symptoms such as inflammation, itching, and irritation, and regenerate damaged skin and fight infections.

Complementary therapies:

  • Use bandages with topical corticosteroids and various moisturizers: they will help keep the skin moist, reduce inflammation, itching, and burning.
  • Phototherapy: it is used as a complement in cases of patients who do not have satisfactory results with medications and hygiene habits.
  • Psychology: there are patients whose self-esteem and confidence are diminished, so they require psychological support to learn to live with this disease and that it does not affect their quality of life. 
  • Meditation, yoga, or relaxation techniques: the itching and discomfort it causes tends to generate nervousness and anxiety, which is why practicing any of these disciplines helps calm us down and not despair with the symptoms, avoiding scratching. 

In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Related centers and departments

Fuentes:

  • topdoctors.es
  • mayoclinic.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • cun.es
  • medigraphic.com
  • Acón RE. Dermatitis atópica. Rev Med Cos Cen. 2014;71(610):239-242.
  • Rivas-Calderón M, Orozco-Covarrubias L, Sáez-de-Ocariz M. Atención y tratamiento integral de la dermatitis atópica. Acta Pediatr Mex. 2020;41(6):286-292.
  • López VS, Núñez PE, Chaverri PG. Actualización en dermatitis atópica: líneas de tratamiento. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2020;5(11):1-12.
  • Huerta HRE. Cuidados de la piel y prevención en dermatitis atópica y alergia a alimentos. Alerg Asma Inmunol Pediatr. 2020;29(2):45-46.

						
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