What Is Atopic Dermatitis?
More than one person in five will suffer an outbreak of atopic dermatitis at some point in their lives.
Atopic dermatitis is an extremely common form of eczema. Most often it occurs in individuals with a family or personal history of other ‘allergic’ disorders, such as food allergies, asthma and hay fever. Typically, the dermatitis starts in infancy or early childhood with recurrent outbreaks of red, itchy rashes. While outbreaks can involve any part of the skin, some areas are more commonly affected. In infants and young children, the dermatitis most often erupts on the face, scalp, and the outer surfaces of arms and legs, while in older children and adults, involvement of the folds of the elbows and knees is typical. Hands are commonly affected at any age. Some adults only have outbreaks on their hands, while others may have widespread, treatment-resistant disease.
There are treatments for atopic dermatitis, but no cures.
Many effective anti-inflammatory therapies are available for atopic dermatitis. Yet, to the frustration of patients and their caregivers, the itchy rashes come back as soon as these medications are stopped. Parents are often offered the hope that their child will likely one day ‘outgrow’ his or her eczema. But not all children do – and, as a result, many people continue to struggle with atopic dermatitis throughout their adult years.
What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?
So much suffering for so many for so long fuels an urgency to understand what is causing this condition. In addition, the prevalence of allergic diseases, including atopic dermatitis, are on the rise – especially in developed countries, such as the United States and European Union. This increase in the number of people who are being affected and the increased severity of their disease has added to this sense of urgency to understand what is behind it.[Read more…] about Atopic Dermatitis: The View From The Outside-In