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Atopic Dermatitis Day: Everything You Need To Know About This Skin Condition

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a skin condition that leads to redness and itchiness. It's common in children but can occur at any age.

Atopic Dermatitis Day: Everything You Need To Know About This Skin Condition

Atopic dermatitis usually develops in early childhood

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is the most common form of eczema. It is an inflammatory skin condition, a chronic long-lasting disease characterized by dry, itchy skin that oozes or can weep clear fluid when scratched and flares up periodically. The exact cause is unknown but personal history of allergies, allergies, family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever, are major risk factors for atopic dermatitis.

Common symptoms on the basis which AD is diagnosed, especially who are suffering from moderate to severe AD are rashes that can potentially cover much of the body and can include rough, leathery, or scaly patches, intense persistent itching, skin wounds and dryness, pain, cracking, redness, or darkness, crusting and oozing.

Burden around Atopic Dermatitis

AD affects at least 2 % to 3% of adults and 25% of children. It is also stated that about 10% -15 % of Indian population, has some form of atopy and manifestation of AD since the 1st year of their life. The burden of atopic dermatitis (AD) is high. Moderate to severe childhood AD shows greater family impact than type-1 diabetes.

This chronic condition has significant disease burden and higher prevalence of atopic and psychological comorbidities, impaired health - related quality of life, anxiety, and depression. The burden is even higher among patients with inadequately controlled AD. About 90% of AD patients experience daily itch and two- thirds have sleep disturbance. Comorbidities included other atopic disorders, infections, obesity, growth disturbance, deficit hyperactivity disorder and mental health disease, speech disorder, headaches, organ specific autoimmunity, and anemia. Persistent disease is particularly costly and appears to correlate with later onset, preexisting duration, and severity. However, persistent, early onset particularly herald possible future food and respiratory allergy, with their attendant burdens (and more severe) disease appears to.

Need for awareness and better treatment

Experts have observed that patients suffering from AD have a 44% more likelihood of mental health issues as compared to those without atopic dermatitis. Patients often suffer from disturbed sleep, low work productivity, increased activity impairment and susceptibility to suicidal behavior. Which emphasizes the fact that atopic dermatitis aggravates and impacts not just physical and mental health, but it also leads to development of other disorders.

People living with AD are also predisposed to bacterial, viral, and fungal skin infections. Majority of the adults try treating AD with OTC products, until it reaches a severe level, which cannot be ignored. This is due to lack of awareness on the disease. However, this can be changed by acting when you notice early signs and common symptoms of atopic dermatitis and visit the dermatologist on priority.

Early diagnosis and providing access to optimal care and timely treatment for patients living with AD can help them live a better quality of life. By and large 80-85% AD hits children between 2-15 years of age when, physical and mental development, studies, career development are the priority. Hence AD has a far-reaching consequence on the future psycho-social growth of a child suffering from AD.

(Dr. Sandipan Dhar is a Professor & Head of Paediatric Dermatology at Institute of Child Health, Kolkata)

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