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Ignoring Atopic Dermatitis Can Lead to More Serious Health Woes

itching

Atopic dermatitis is the most severe and chronic form of eczema, affecting more than 15 million people in the United States each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. Of those 15 million patients, 65 percent develop symptoms of the skin-irritating condition in the first year of life, and 90 percent by age five.

While there is no known cure, atopic dermatitis can be treated and managed. Early treatment is crucial because if the condition goes untreated, it can lead to a myriad of more serious health woes. These include:

  • Asthma and hay fever: Without treatment, 75 percent of children with atopic dermatitis will develop hay fever or asthma.
  • Neurodermatitis: This condition begins with a small patch of itchy skin. Scratching doesn’t help and, in fact, only serves to make the area itchier and larger until you’re scratching your skin simply out of habit. As a result, affected skin can become discolored, thick and leathery.
  • Skin infections: Repeated and harsh scratching of the skin can dry out and break it, causing cracks and open sores. Those open spaces, even the tiniest of them, can make you more vulnerable to infection from bacteria and viruses that make their way into your skin’s deeper layers. An example is the herpes simplex virus.
  • Irritant hand dermatitis: This condition primarily affects the web spaces and fingers. If your work or daily routine requires that your hands often are wet and exposed to harsh soaps, detergents or disinfectants, you’re at higher risk. Hairdressers, healthcare workers, caterers, home and office cleaners and mechanics are examples of groups at highest risk.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis: Sometimes, initial treatments can exacerbate atopic dermatitis issues. That’s because certain substances such as corticosteroids can cause allergic skin reactions.
  • Eye problems: Watch for severe itching around the eyelids, excessive or persistent eye watering, blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid that affects the eyelashes or tear production) and conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye).
  • Sleep issues: The constant itch-scratch cycle can cause you to wake up repeatedly throughout the night, significantly diminishing your quality and amount of sleep. This can lead to chronic drowsiness during the day, adversely affecting your ability to focus or concentrate on tasks, including driving, studying and working, and making for potentially dangerous situations.
  • Behavioral problems: Results of multiple studies show a definitive link between atopic dermatitis and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, particularly in children who regularly lose sleep.

If you suspect you have atopic dermatitis, don’t ignore it. Get treatment quickly and regularly by calling your nearest Metropolitan Dermatology location in Clark at 732-574-1399; Kearny at 201-998-4699; Teaneck at 201-837-3939; Jersey City at 201-792-4500 or Staten Island at 718-448-4488.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors of Eczema

Scratching skin

It’s unsightly at best, painful at its worst. But if you live with eczema, know that there are ways to treat and manage the condition.

According to the National Institutes of Health, eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, affects more than 15 million people in the United States. Of them, 65 percent develop symptoms in the first year of life and 90 percent before age five. If the condition is left untreated, 75 percent of children affected will develop hay fever or asthma.

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Chronic itching, which may intensify at night
  • Red or brownish-gray patches that may appear on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees and, in infants, on the face and scalp
  • Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
  • Thickened, cracked, dry, scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive and swollen skin caused by continual scratching

Doctors have yet to pinpoint an exact root cause of eczema, but common contributing factors include:

  • Naturally dry, sensitive skin, which reduces the skin’s ability to be an effective barrier
  • Dehydrated skin resulting from long, hot baths or showers
  • A gene variation that affects the skin’s barrier function
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, on the skin that creates a sweat gland-blocking film
  • Scratching, which causes further skin damage
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Stress and sweat
  • Changes in heat and humidity
  • Skin exposure to solvents, cleaners, soaps and detergents
  • Wool in clothing, blankets and carpets
  • Dust and pollen
  • Tobacco smoke and air pollution
  • Allergies to eggs, milk, peanuts, soybeans, fish and wheat, particularly in infants and children

Eczema is more prevalent among African Americans, those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), residents of urban areas and anyone with a family history of atopic dermatitis, allergies, hay fever or asthma.

If you suspect that you or your child may have eczema, schedule a consultation at your nearest Metropolitan Dermatology location. Reach us in Clark at 732-574-1399; Kearny at 201-998-4699; Teaneck at 201-837-3939; Jersey City at 201-792-4500 or Staten Island at 718-448-4488.


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Metropolitan Dermatology Locations

1075 Central Avenue
Clark, NJ 07066
732-574-1399
Clark NJ location servicing Edison, Westfield, Elizabeth, Linden, Scotch Plains, & Cranford, NJ

757 Teaneck Road
Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-837-3939
Teaneck NJ location servicing Hackensack, Fort Lee, Fair Lawn, Englewood, and Bergenfield, NJ.

703 Kearny Ave.
Kearny, NJ 07032
201-998-4699
Kearny NJ location servicing Jersey City, Nutley, North Arlington, Lyndhurst, and Hoboken, NJ. *Formerly 752 Kearny

1324 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10301
718-448-4488
Staten Island NY location servicing all of New York City!

3202 John F Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ 07306
201-792-4500
Jersey City, NJ location servicing Jersey City and Newark.

114 Lakeview Avenue
South Plainfield, NJ 07080
South Plainfield, NJ location coming in early 2017

449 60th St.
West New York, NJ 07093
201-861-4226
West New York NJ location servicing Union City, Bayonne, North Bergen, Hoboken, & Secaucus NJ