Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is usually diagnosed in early childhood. Common comorbidities include food allergies, asthma, and hay fever. Since it is difficult to pinpoint a single cause of the problem, symptomatic treatment is used to reduce skin itching and discomfort. According to some physicians, the disease has three variants, i.e. infantile, pediatric, and adult-type. Surprisingly, the incidence of AD has increased by a factor of two during the last 25 years. Environmental factors as well as technicization of daily lives are considered to be at least partly responsible.

Atopic dermatitis – causes and most common symptoms

Development of AD is determined by three groups of factors, including genetic predisposition, immune disorders, and environmental factors. Very commonly, individuals suffering from AD present with family history of various types of allergies.

Main symptoms of AD include persistent itching, recurrent skin infections, skin lesions and food intolerance. Atopic skin is dry, reddened and irritated. Blisters and papulae may also be present, most commonly in children. They usually occur on the face, outer elbows and knees, arms, and back. Exposure to all types of allergens results mainly in itching which intensified during the night. Other symptoms may include fatigue, sleeplessness, and irritation.

Most effective treatments

Treatment of atopic dermatitis depends on the type and intensity of symptoms. Unfortunately, AD is incurable and it is only possible to reduce it to an asymptomatic level. Most commonly, anti-inflammatory creams and ointments are prescribed. When infection develops, the antibiotics may be included. Corticosteroids which reduce the inflammatory foci and skin edema are also popular. They are very effective; however, they are also associated with risk of adverse effects, and are therefore increasingly replaced with anti-inflammatory ointments. Emotional stress associated with daily living or the disease itself may contribute significantly to the exacerbation of symptoms. In such cases, patients are prescribed with sedatives or psychotherapy.

Home-based prophylaxis is of great importance!

Appropriate everyday skin care is crucial. Patients with AD should avoid skin dryness and thus care for appropriate hydration, particularly by applying a thick layer of cream after bath, and by avoiding alcohol-based cosmetic products. Textile materials worn by the patients are also important. Woolen clothes should be avoided, and all clothes should be washed in non-irritating detergents. Strong detergents may lead to irritations leading to excess skin dryness.

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