[toc]Eczema also known as atopic dermatitis is a skin disease which can be either a minor rash or chronic. It is a painful condition with persistent itching and leads to dry skin. It mostly affects infants during the first year of their life and young children but it can continue till adulthood.
It mostly gets resolved by the age of three in infants but for some it becomes a recurring condition. Eczema though is not preventable; certain things when followed can surely reduce the symptoms which include keeping the skin properly hydrated, avoiding known trigger foods, avoiding extreme temperatures.
It is mostly caused due to some food allergy or airborne allergy. People with eczema often develop other forms of allergic diseases such as asthma, allergic rhinitis. However it is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person.
Symptoms of Eczema
The skin becomes dry and red which itches and burns. Intense itching is the first symptom in eczema. The appearance of eczema varies from person to person and according to the type of eczema a person is affected.
It commonly appears on the back of the knees and ankles, face, wrists, hands or feet. It may also lead to blisters and oozing lesions.The trigger can be due to reaction to certain allergies which can lead to symptoms which lasts for few hours or days but in certain cases the symptoms persist for a longer duration referred as eczema or dermatitis.Sometimes it may result in dry, thickened and scaly skin. Repeated scratching may lead to thickened, crusty skin.
Causes of Eczema
The exact cause of eczema is still unknown but several factors are linked to eczema.
Abnormal Immune Response
It is linked to an over reactive response of the body immune system to the irritant. It is a condition in which the immune system becomes overactive, means overreact or start attacking the body, leading to inflammation. Eczema allows significant loss of fluids through the skin allowing the allergens to penetrate.
The most common triggers are the substance that irritates the skin. These skin allergies may be due to make up, wool , dust ,pollen or pet fur, cigarette smoke ,certain jewelleries, perfume, cosmetics depending upon the person.
For some eczema can occur due to use of some rough or coarse material. Certain food such eggs, wheat, nuts, and dairy products can also cause the trigger. Changes in weather condition can also lead to eczema in certain people. Use of certain detergents, soaps, animal dander can also be the cause of trigger.
Eczema mostly runs in families. If any of your family members is suffering from eczema or if there is a family history of other allergic conditions such as asthma or hay fever then it is most probable that a person will develop eczema.Eczema is not contagious but it is inherited so it is common in between the same family members affected by eczema.
Chronic circulatory problems leads to increase in fluid build ups in the legs leading to skin irritation in the lower legs. It mostly occurs to middle aged and elderly people.
Hormone levels and stress are also one of the factors that trigger eczema or worsen the condition. In women the symptoms worsen during menstruation cycle or during pregnancy. Mental stress can further aggravate the condition.