A good reason to treat Atopic Dermatitis, sooner rather than later
Atopic dermatitis (or eczema) is a skin condition that commonly arises in childhood.
As a practitioner, I have been taught that the eczema is linked to other allergy related disorders such as asthma, sinusitis, hay fever and rhinitis. This “disease family” is known as atopy.
The general understanding has been the atopic eczema typically occurs in young babies around 2 months of age. At this point, it may disappear or progress to become a more persistent skin disorder that causes a red, itchy rash, particularly in the flexures of elbows, knees and wrist creases. Often the eczema will disappear as the child ages, although asthma can take its place.
In most situations it is believed that eczema disappears in most sufferers as they become a young adult. The atopy commonly expresses itself as sinusitis or hay fever in adult hood and in late adulthood the atopy syndrome, can again produce eczema – often widespread or commonly causing pompholyx of the hands.
A recent study has spread more light on the actual progress of eczema and its ongoing and persistent skin symptoms.
In a 2014 study published in JAMA Dermatology, the authors sought to establish a natural history of AD using a self-reported prospective research method to determine if a child’s skin was symptom free for 6 months, at 6 month intervals.
A total of 7,157 children with physician-diagnosed mild to moderate AD were followed in the study. They were aged 2-17 years and the average age of onset was 1.7 years.
During the 5 year follow up period;
- 64% did not report having a six-month period when they were free of topical medication and symptom free;
- More than 80% of the patients reported having symptoms of atopic dermatitis (AD) or taking AD medication in the past 6 months, no matter what their age (2-26 years);
- Only 50% of the 2,416 patients who were followed for 5 years, and who had reached 20 years of age, reported at least 6 months free of atopic dermatitis symptoms and topical medications.
This therefore means that the remaining 50% were still experiencing symptoms, during the previous 6 month period, once they had reached 20 years of age. This is a far cry from the previously common assumption held by medical practitioners, that AD usually disappears by about twelve years of age.
What does this say about the need for effective atopic dermatitis treatment?
The research concluded that the duration of atopic dermatitis, is more long term than it was originally thought.
This being case, it seems even more important to address the cause and triggers or dermatitis, rather hoping that it will resolve itself.
There are many different things that can be done to eradicate eczema and boost the immune system.
A relatively short treatment, taking several weeks to months to complete, can be highly successful at getting rid of the skin disorder or at least reducing its occurrence significantly. Treatment of course varies from one person to the other, but in most cases is highly effective.
Jacob S. Margolis1; Katrina Abuabara, MD1,2; Warren Bilker, PhD1; Ole Hoffstad, MS1; David J. Margolis, MD, PhD1,2 Persistence of Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis.
JAMA Dermatol. 2014; 150 (6):593-600. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.10271