Skin Asthma - My Chronic Companion

"Sa dinami-dami naman ng pwede kong mamana sa aking mga ninuno... bkit ito pa?"

Nothing more I can do except to live with it the rest of my life. My severe asthma attacks started when I was pregnant with my youngest. I used to have Urticaria or hives when I was single but when I got married, it evolved into another form of allergy called Atopic dermatitis.

It is a very common, often chronic (long-lasting) skin disease that affects a large percentage of the world's population. It is also called eczema, dermatitis, or atopy. Most commonly, it may be thought of as a type of skin allergy or sensitivity. The atopic dermatitis triad includes asthma, allergies, and eczema. There is a known hereditary component of the disease, and it is seen more in some families. The hallmarks of the disease include skin rashes and itching.

The word "dermatitis" means inflammation of the skin. "Atopic" refers to diseases that are hereditary, tend to run in families, and often occur together. In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy and inflamed, causing redness, swelling, cracking, weeping, crusting, and scaling. Dry skin is a very common complaint and an underlying cause of some of the typical rash symptoms.

Although atopic dermatitis can occur in any age, most often it affects infants and young children. In some instances, it may persist into adulthood or actually first show up later in life. A large number of patients tend to have a long-term course with various ups and downs. In most cases, there are periods of time when the disease is worse, called exacerbations or flares, which are followed by periods when the skin improves or clears up entirely, called remissions. Many children with atopic dermatitis enter into a permanent remission of the disease when they get older, although their skin may remain somewhat dry and easily irritated.

Multiple factors can trigger or worsen atopic dermatitis, including dry skin, seasonal allergies, exposure to harsh soaps and detergents, new skin products or creams, and cold weather. Environmental factors can activate symptoms of atopic dermatitis at any time in the lives of individuals who have inherited the atopic disease trait.

The CAUSES are still unknown, but the disease seems to result from a combination of genetic (hereditary) and environmental factors. There seems to be a basic hypersensitivity and an increased tendency toward itching. Evidence suggests that the disease is associated with other so-called atopic disorders such as hayfever (seasonal allergies) and asthma, which many people with atopic dermatitis also have. In addition, many children who outgrow the symptoms of atopic dermatitis go on to develop hay fever or asthma. Although one disorder does not necessarily cause another, they may be related, thereby giving researchers clues to understanding atopic dermatitis.

While emotional factors and stress may in some cases exacerbate or initiate the condition, they do not seem to be a primary or underlying cause for the disorder. In the past, there was some thought that perhaps atopic dermatitis was entirely caused by an emotional disorder.

I have read several articles about this illness but the TREATMENT may vary depending on the type of allergy and what allergen greatly affect each condition.

OVERVIEW:

• Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema.
• The skin sensitivity of this disease may be inherited and genetically determined.
• The patient's skin may be "super sensitive" to many irritants.
• Dry scaly patches develop in a characteristic distribution.
• Itching varies but may be intense and scratching hard to resist.
• Scratching can cause skin thickening and darkening and lead to further complications, including bacterial infection.
• Extremely dry skin can break down and ooze or weep.
• If the itch can be controlled, the rash (which is aggravated by vigorous scratching) may be more readily contained.
• Treatment of atopic dermatitis is centered around rehydrating the skin with rich moisturizers like Vaseline and cautious use of topical steroids to reduce inflammation and itching.
• Oral antihistamines are often necessary to break the "itch-scratch" cycle.
• Since secondary infections can aggravate the rash, topical or oral antibiotics may also be occasionally indicated.