Eczema - Health Center
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Eczema - Overview
Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema is known as one of the most popular causes of Eczema. Eczema is known basically to affect children but can continue towards the adulthood or later stages of life. The word Eczema has been derived from the Greek word ‘ekzein’ which means ‘to boil out’ and ‘ek’ which means ‘out’.
Almost everyone has encountered someone who has been suffering from this disease. Eczema is basically a chronic skin condition in which usually the skin becomes itchy, reddened and cracked. The disease is known to affect not men and women equally. Also, the disease is known to spread across people of all ethnic backgrounds easily.
Experts are of the opinion that people suffering from Eczema are generally born with it, as it’s a hereditary condition. Also, the immune cells of the people suffering from Eczema tend to release the chemicals underneath the surface of the skin resulting in inflammation of the skin.
Causes Behind the Occurence of Atopic Eczema
Though it has been well established that people suffering from Atopic Eczema are generally born with it, however, it has been proved that excessive exposure towards external environmental factors too can contribute towards the occurrence of the disease. Agents such as pollen, fur or even abrupt increase in the hormones due to stress are some of the major reasons for the occurrence of the disease.
The different environmental factors that are known to trigger the occurrence of Eczema are as follows:
- Irritants: They may contain ingredients such as detergents, shampoos, disinfectants or even fruits and vegetables. Coming in contact with any of them, a person can become prone towards developing Eczema
- Allergens: Densely present in the atmosphere, allergens trigger the occurrence of Eczema in people. Some of the most widely known allergens are pollen grains, dandruff or even the moulds or algae present in the environment.
- Microbes and bacteria such as different variety of coccus virus and fungi too are well known to be some of the most prominent reasons for the development of Eczema like condition.
- Sudden fluctuations in temperatures, as well as the variations in the humidity and the perspiration level can lead to causing Eczema.
- Hormonal imbalance in people during the occurrence of pregnancy or at certain points within their menstrual cycles too can lead towards the creation of Eczema.
Unfolding Eczema and its Types
There are many different types of Eczema known all over the world.
Some of the major types of atopic eczemas are as follows:
- Allergic Contact Eczema or Dermatitis: This is the condition in which the skin comes in contact with a substance that is perceived as foreign by the immune system of the body. Therefore, it results in the occurrence of the disease.
- Contact Eczema: Contact Eczema is the one in which there is a localized reaction where the skin comes in contact with an allergen and thus leads to the occurrence of the disease.
- Dyshidriotic Eczema: In this kind of eczema, there is an irritation of the skin on the palms of the hands as well as the soles of feet. This is often characterized by the occurrence of blisters all over the affected region of the body.
- Neurodermatitis: In such a kind of condition, there is an occurrence of scaly patches of skin on the head, forearms, wrists as well as the lower legs of the patient. It is often caused sue to the localized itch over a region such as one caused by an insect bite.
- Nummular Eczema: In this kind of eczema, there is often observed the occurrence of circular patches of skin, usually on the scalp as well as the facial region of an affected person.
- Seborrheic Eczema: This kind of eczema is often characterised with the occurrence of oily as well as scaly yellowish patches all over the affected region, which is mainly over the scalp and the face of a person.
- Stasis Dermatitis: This kind of disease is characterised by the occurrence of skin irritation over the lower legs of a person and is usually related to the circulatory problems of a person.
Symptoms of Eczema
Usually during the occurrence of Atopic Eczema, an affected person suffers from dry and scaly patches all over the skin. These patches are often itchy in nature and can be different depending from person from person. Usually most people develop Eczema before the age of five years.
However, the symptoms and signs of the disease can continue to show for the rest of the life.
Symptoms in Infants:
- Occurrence of rashes all over the scalp and cheeks.
- Bubbling up of the rashes with fluid.
- Rashes leading to extreme itchiness in children. One of the major symptoms remain the constant rubbing and scratching of the skin leading to spreading of the infection.
- After two years of age, the rashes begin to appear over the elbows and knees of the affected children.
- Neck region, wrists, ankles as well as the buttocks and legs are some of the other regions where the occurrence of rashes is more.
- The rashes tend to become light or dark in colour with time.
- Rashes also tend to become thick with time and then develop a knot along with a permanent itching sensation.
Symptoms in Adults:
- In adults, the rashes can appear as creases over the surface of elbows as well as knees.
- Rashes tend to cover the entire surface of the body.
- Also, they occur most prominently over the surface of neck, face and the eyes.
- Rashes cause the drying of skin and tend to become quite itchy in nature.
- Rashes lead to the formation of a scaly skin and lesions/ infections in the later stage of their development.
Tests and Diagnosis For Eczema
Though there is no single defined test for the determination of Eczema, doctors tend to observe a patient for a larger duration of time in order to diagnose him with the disease. The only reason for this is that a person suffering from Eczema tends to show a multitude of symptoms which can differentiate across the length of time depending from one person to the other.
Also, a doctor needs to know the personal medical history of the patient before diagnosing him with the disease. It is helpful as a person who comes from a history of being subjected towards various allergens can come out to be more prone towards the development of atopic eczema. Once the disease has been diagnosed, the person is referred to the dermatologist for the further treatment of the same.
Some of the best known tests all over the world used for the diagnosis of the disease are :
- Patch Testing: In this the substances are placed upon the skin of a person in order to test for different allergies.
- Skin Prick Testing: In this kind of test, a needle is placed upon the skin of a person containing a small sample of the allergen towards which a person is allergic. This tends to determine the cause for the occurrence of Eczema.
- Supervised Food Challenges: In this case, some of the foods are first eliminated from the diet and are then reintroduced in order to determine the kind of food allergy a person is suffering from.
Treatment and Prevention of Eczema
There is no certain treatment for Eczema known. Treatments as prescribed by the doctor vary from one person to other.
However, some of the basic measures as mentioned below can be undertaken by a person in order to prevent the occurrence of Eczema.
- Taking warm and regular baths.
- Applying moisturizer immediately after the bath in order to lock the moisture inside the skin.
- Moisturizing regularly, without fail.
- Wearing light cotton fabrics and avoiding tight, scratchy and skin hugging clothes.
- Using mild soaps or a non soap cleanser during baths.
- Patting the skin dry with a soft towel or air drying the skin after bath, rather than rashly cleaning the skin with a rough towel.
- Avoiding rapid changes in the temperature around them.
- Using a humidifier during cold weather.
- Keeping the fingernails short and clean in order to prevent itching and braking of the skin and blisters.
If a person is able to implement all the above mentioned precautions, he can keep a tab over his Eczema and cure it within time.