Dermatologist Moncton - Eczema is a form of dermatitis or inflammation of the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. The term is derived from the Greek language and translates to "to boil over." In England, approximately 1 in 9 people or an estimated 5,773,700 people have been diagnosed with eczema at some point in their lives. In some languages, the terms dermatitis and eczema are synonymous and frequently the two conditions are classified together. In other languages, the term eczema refers to a chronic condition and dermatitis implies an acute one.
The word generally covers various persistent skin conditions like for example: recurring skin dryness and rashes that is associated with at least one of the following symptoms of dryness and itching, crusting, flaking, oozing, bleeding, skin oedema or swelling and blistering. Sometimes, temporary skin discoloration can result. Furthermore, scratching open a lesion that is in the healing process may enlarge the rash and can lead to probable scarring.
Describing the signs of eczema could be somewhat confusing. The descriptions can include the location, the possible cause or the specific appearance. Many sources even use the words atopic dermatitis that is the most common type of eczema and the term eczema interchangeably with can add to the confusion.
These classifications are ordered by the frequency of incidence.
Atopic eczema, which is likewise known as infantile eczema, flexural eczema or atopic dermatitis, is an allergic disease thought to have a genetic element. Atopic eczema is prominent in families with individuals who likewise suffer from asthma. There tends to be an itchy rash that develops on the inside of elbows, head and scalp, behind the knees and on the buttocks. This particular type of eczema is somewhat common in developed nations. It can be tricky to differentiate between irritant contact dermatitis.
The categories which contact dermatitis falls into is irritant and allergic. Irritant dermatitis could be caused to specific irritants comprising detergents like for instance sodium lauryl sulphate. Allergic dermatitis can happen as a result of a delayed reaction to particular allergen such as nickel or poison ivy. Wet cement is an example of a substance which acts as both an irritant and an allergen. Phototoxic dermatitis can take place with various substances after exposure to sunlight. Roughly three quarters of contact eczema cases are the irritant type. This is the most common occupational skin disease. If traces of the offending substance could be removed from one's environment and avoided, contact eczema could be curable.
This type of eczema would be worse during dryer winters and effects the limbs and the trunk more. It goes by various names, such as xerotic eczema or craquele eczema, winter itch, asteatotic eczema, craquelatum eczema or pruritus hiemalis. The itchy, tender skin resembles a cracked and dry river bed. This condition is extremely popular among older people. A related disorder is Ichthyosis.
Cradle cap within infants is officially referred to as Seborrheic or Seborrhoeic dermatitis. This is a condition which is normally classified as a type of eczema which is connected closely to dandruff. It causes a dry or greasy flaking of the scalp and could even affect the eyebrows, face and at times the trunk. This is considered a harmless condition except in severe conditions of cradle cap. In newborns, it presents as a yellow, crusty, thick scalp rash which is called cradle cap. This condition has been associated to a lack of biotin and is generally curable.
Less Common Types of Eczema
One more type of eczema is known as Dyshidrosis or pompholyx eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis or housewife's eczema. This kind is known for just showing up on the soles, palms and sides of toes and fingers. It presents with tiny opaque bumps known as vesicles, cracks and thickening skin are accompanied by itching that worsens at nighttime. This is a common form of hand eczema and it becomes worse in warm weather conditions.
Venous e., Discoid e., DermaDermatitisetiformis or Duhring's Disease, Autoeczematization and Neurodermatitis are other less common types of eczema, that are overlaid by viral infections. Some eczemas result from underlying disease, as in lymphoma for example. There are numerous other rare eczematous disorders which exist in addition to these too.
Some attribute eczema to the hygiene hypothesis. This theory postulates that the cause of eczema, asthma as well as other allergic diseases is due to a very clean surrounding. This particular theory is supported by epidemiologic research meant for asthma that states that during development it is vital to be exposed to bacteria and immune system modulators and therefore, missing out on this exposure increases the risk for asthma and allergy.
Another theory states that the excrement from house dust mites cause the allergic reaction of eczema. Although 5 percent of people show antibodies to the mites, the hypothesis awaits further corroboration.
Usually, the diagnosis of eczema is based mostly on physical examination and history, although, in various cases, a skin biopsy may prove helpful.
People suffering from eczema must not be given the smallpox vaccination because of the possibility of developing eczema vaccinatum. This is a potentially sever and at times fatal complication.
As there is no common treatment for eczema, general treatments comprise the control of symptoms by relieving the itching and reducing the inflammation. Medications that are accessible comprise hydrocortisone, corticosteroids, oral or injectable corticosteroids. These come with various potential side effects, most usually thinning the skin, although there is ongoing research in this particular area. Usually, these steroids are to be used really carefully and a little goes a long way.
Immunomodulators are another form of cure although a public health advisory has been issued by the FDA because of possible chance of lymph node cancer and skin cancer. Various expert medical organizations don't agree with the FDA findings.
Some of the more severe cases of eczema are treated with immunosuppressant drugs. At times these are prescribed and give slight to even dramatic improvements in the patient's eczema. Nevertheless, these can dampen the immune system and have major side effects. In order to be on this type of therapy, patients be carefully monitored by a medical doctor and go through regular blood tests.
Making use of antihistamine and various anti-itch drugs can help in the treatment of the itching component of eczema. By initiating a sedative effect, these work to reduce damage and irritation to the skin. Various popular sedating antihistamines include Benadryl or Phenergan. Moisturizers are also applied to the skin to be able to help the healing and soothing purpose. Capsaicin applied to the skin acts as a counter irritant and hydrocortisone cream is also utilized, however, numerous health food stores provide some preparations with tea tree oil and essential fatty acids as an alternative.
Lots of patients have found fast acting relief by applying cool water via swimming, a wet washcloth or a bath. Making use of an icepack wrapped in a soft cloth or even utilizing air blowing from an air conditioning vent has proven soothing.
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