Atopic Dermatitis (AD) or Eczema is a very common, recurrent itchy skin condition in children. It affects 1 in 5 children.
The term ‘atopic’ is used to describe a group of conditions, which include asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis. These conditions are all linked by an increased activity of the allergy reaction of the body’s immune system. So many patients with AD have a personal or family history of other atopic conditions like asthma, allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis.
Many genes involved in formation of the skin barrier and the skin’s immune system play a role in the development of AD. Many patients with AD have dry skin which is easily irritated.
Atopic Dermatitis is a complex condition that is due to an interplay of genetic, environmental and skin barrier defects. Patients typically have altered skin barrier, and increased inflammatory and allergy responses. Environmental factors like chemicals, infections, pollens, dust can trigger the inflammatory and allergy response and cause eczema.
An alteration in a gene that is important for maintaining a healthy skin barrier has been closely linked to the development of eczema. This makes the skin of patients affected by eczema much more susceptible to infection and allows irritating substances/particles to enter the skin, causing itching and inflammation. Atopic dermatitis cannot be caught from somebody else – it is not infectious.
AD commonly starts in infancy but some patients may present in childhood or later.
MBBS(NUS, SINGAPORE), MRCP(RCP, UNITED KINGDOM)