Commonly used to refer to various skin conditions, Eczema is in reality the name for atopic dermatitis, a chronic skin condition. The term “atopic” is used to refer to a series of immune-related diseases that include a great variety of conditions, such as hay fever and asthma, among others, while the term “dermatitis” just means inflammation of the skin.
This particular condition usually manifests early on in a person’s life, commonly during infancy, and that continues on through childhood. While it is common enough for many people with this condition to outgrow it, as it may very well disappear at around the time they near puberty, many others will have the condition follow them well into their adulthood. Fortunately, eczema treatment is rather simple.
WHAT CAUSES ECZEMA?
What is Eczema? Eczema is a little bit of an enigma as far as what exactly causes it. Current medical consensus agrees that it is most likely a combination of both environmental and hereditary factors that causes Eczema to develop.
This of course means that if either or both of the parents of a child have experienced the condition, then their child is more likely to develop it as well. One noteworthy find to bear in mind, as reported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) roughly about half of the children who experience eczema or atopic dermatitis eventually develop one of the other atopic diseases later in life.
As with every condition and disease, prevention is the best way to treat; a pre-emptive strike is the most effective kind! Given that genetic factors cannot be controlled, knowing what environmental factors trigger eczema is the best way to go about it.
ENVIROMENTAL CAUSES OF ECZEMA
Allergens: These are rather obvious, but bear mentioning nevertheless; pollen, dust mites, pets, mold and even dandruff can cause eczema to develop.
Microbes: maintaining a relatively clean environment is key; viruses, certain kinds of fungus, and various types of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus.
Irritants: The classics are here covered; disinfectants, soaps, detergents, shampoos,
Foods: Just like they can trigger certain allergies, these same foods can also influence the development of eczema; fresh fruit juices, vegetables or meats, dairy products, nuts and seeds, eggs, wheat, and soy products among others.
Temperatures: Perhaps not the most obvious set of factors, but these, too, can affect the development of eczema; perspiration from exercise, both high and low humidity, and hot weather can trigger it.
Others: Many other various factors can influence the appearance of this condition, like hormonal changes in women due to their menstrual cycle or pregnancy, as well as stress, which does not cause it necessarily but does appear to worsen the symptoms of preexisting cases.
THE SYMPTOMS OF ECZEMA
What is eczema if not the sum and combination of its various symptoms?
Eczema is fairly easy to spot, as it normally manifests as scaly, dry skin patches in infants, which tend to be particularly itchy. Other types of symptoms manifest depending on the afflicted person’s age.
In infants, rashers most commonly manifest on the scalp and cheeks, tending to blister before breaking and seeping fluid. Given how intense the itching caused by the rashes is, it tends to aggravate the blistering and seeping.
In children from 2 and up until puberty, the rashes tend to show behind the creases of elbows and knees, around the neck, wrists, ankles, legs and between the buttocks. They can manifest as bumps that can be light or dark in color, and can thicken until becoming itchy knots.
In adults, rashes can cover the entirety of the body, becoming permanently itchy and causing scalier skin than in children and infants. These rashes can also lead to more sever skin infections.
HOW TO TREAT ECZEMA
Diagnosis of eczema can often require various visits to a Doctor or Dermatologist, this due to the many different factors that can come into play and various tests available to determine what kind of eczema you might have.
Much like the number of factors to consider in its diagnosis, thankfully there is a slew of treatments for eczema. Determining which one is right for you should be taken up with Utah Valley Dermatology & Dr. David Myers, or with your nearest licensed dermatologist. Utah Valley Dermatology, the best skin care by a caring staff!