What is Eczema? Eczema is a general term for many types of skin inflammation (dermatitis). The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis (sometimes these two terms are used interchangeably). However, there are many different forms of eczema. Eczema can affect people of any age, although the condition is most common in infants, and about 85% of those affected have an onset prior to 5 years of age.
Eczema will permanently resolve by age 3 in about half of affected infants. In others, the condition tends to recur throughout life. People with eczema often have a family history of the condition or a family history of other allergic conditions, such as asthma orhay fever. Eczema is slightly more common in girls than in boys. It occurs in people of all races. Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected.
Doctors do not know the exact cause of eczema, but a defect of the skin that impairs its function as a barrier, possibly combined with an abnormal function of the immune system, are believed to be important factors.
Studies have shown that in people with atopic dermatitis there are gene defects that lead to abnormalities in certain proteins (such as filaggrin) that are important in maintaining the barrier of normal skin.
Some forms of eczema can be triggered by substances that come in contact with the skin, such as soaps, cosmetics, clothing, detergents, jewelry, or sweat.
Changes in temperature or humidity, or even psychological stress, can lead to outbreaks of eczema in some people.
What are eczema symptoms and signs in babies, children, and adults?
Eczema most commonly causes dry, reddened skin that itches or burns, although the appearance of eczema varies from person to person and varies according to the specific type of eczema.
Intense itching is generally the first symptom in most people with eczema.
Sometimes, eczema may lead to blisters and oozing lesions, but eczema can also result in dry and scaly skin.
Repeated scratching may lead to thickened, crusty skin.
In children and adults, eczema typically occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles.
In infants, eczema typically occurs on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp, and neck.
What are the different types of eczema? 1. Atopic dermatitis
It is a chronic skin disease characterized by itchy, inflamed skin and is the most common cause of eczema.
The condition tends to come and go, depending upon exposures to triggers or causative factors.
Factors that may cause atopic dermatitis (allergens) include environmental factors like molds, pollen, or pollutants; contact irritants like soaps, detergents, nickel (in jewelery), or perfumes; food allergies; or other allergies.
2. Contact eczema
Is a localized reaction that includes redness, itching, and burning in areas where the skin has come into contact with an allergen (an allergy-causing substance to which an individual is sensitized) or with a general irritant such as an acid, a cleaning agent, or other chemical.
Other examples of contact eczema include reactions to laundry detergents, soaps, nickel (present in jewelry), cosmetics, fabrics, clothing, and perfume.
Is a form of skin inflammation of unknown cause.
The signs and symptoms of seborrheic eczema include yellowish, oily, scaly patches of skin on the scalp, face, and occasionally other parts of the body.
Dandruff and "cradle cap" in infants are examples of seborrheic eczema.
4. Nummular eczema
Is characterized by coin-shaped patches of irritated skin -- most commonly located on the arms, back, buttocks, and lower legs -- that may be crusted, scaling, and extremely itchy.
This form of eczema is relatively uncommon and occurs most frequently in elderly men.
A personal or family history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, or allergies increases the risk of developing the condition.
Also known as lichen simplex chronicus, is a chronic skin inflammation caused by a scratch-itch cycle that begins with a localized itch(such as an insect bite) that becomes intensely irritated when scratched.
Women are more commonly affected by neurodermatitis than men, and the condition is most frequent in people 20-50 years of age.
This form of eczema results in scaly patches of skin on the head, lower legs, wrists, or forearms. Over time, the skin can become thickened and leathery.
Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of neurodermatitis.
6. Stasis dermatitis
Is a skin irritation on the lower legs, generally related to the circulatory problem known as venous insufficiency, in which the function of the valves within the veins has been compromised.
Stasis dermatitis occurs almost exclusively in middle-aged and elderly people, with approximately 6%-7% of the population over 50 years of age being affected by the condition.
is an irritation of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of the feet characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn.
The cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown. Dyshidrotic eczema is also known as vesicular palmoplantar dermatitis, dyshidrosis, or pompholyx.
Males and females are equally affected, and the condition can occur in people of any age.
Do not scratch skin to avoid bacterial infection.
Apply cream, lotion, or moisturizer to prevent dryness.
To ease irritation, apply ointment to the affected area or cover with dressing to prevent scratching.
Choose cotton clothes. Avoid wool or synthetic fabrics.
Psoriasis is a noncontagious common skin condition that causes rapid skin cell reproduction resulting in red, dry patches of thickened skin.
The dry flakes and skin scales are thought to result from the rapid buildup of skin cells.
Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.
What causes psoriasis? The exact cause remains unknown. There may be a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors. It is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family. The immune system is thought to play a major role.
Psoriasis in moist areas like the navel or area between the buttocks (intergluteal folds) may look like flat red patches.
On the nails, it can look like very small pits (pinpoint depressions or white spots on the nail) or as larger yellowish-brown separations of the nail bed called "oil spots." Nail psoriasis may be confused with and incorrectly diagnosed as a fungal nail infection.
On the scalp, it may look like severe dandruff with dry flakes and red areas of skin. It may be difficult to tell the difference between scalp psoriasis and seborrhea (dandruff). However, the treatment is often very similar for both conditions.
Different Types of Psoriasis 1. Psoriasis Vulgaris
The medical name for the most common form of Psoriasis ("vulgaris" means common).
It is also called plaque psoriasis because of the characteristic plaques on the skin: well-defined patches of red raised skin that can appear on any area of skin, although the knees, elbows, scalp, trunk and nails are the most common locations.
A type of Psoriasis characterized by red, scaly patches of inflamed skin on all parts of the body. It is associated with a lung infection in many cases.
3. Inverse Psoriasis
Also called flexural psoriasis, a form of psoriasis found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other flexion creases (skin folds) such as those around the genitals and buttocks.
Inverse psoriasis is more frequent and severe in people who are overweight because it is in the skin folds where it is particularly prone to irritation from rubbing and sweating.
A type of recurring Psoriasis chara-cterizedby the appearance of pus-filed pimples and sores in clusters.
It can be intensely painful, and hospitalization may be required.
Sunbathe for fifteen to thirty minutes but not to the point of sunburn.
The causes of arthritis depend on the form of arthritis.
Arthritis is classified as one of the rheumatic diseases. These are conditions that are different individual illnesses, with differing features, treatments, complications, and prognoses.
What are arthritis symptoms and signs?
Symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. Inflammation of the joints from arthritis is characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and warmth. Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present.
Symptoms in some patients with certain forms of arthritis can also include fever, gland swelling (swollen lymph nodes),weight loss, fatigue, feeling unwell, and even symptoms from abnormalities of organs such as the lungs, heart, or kidneys.
What is the treatment for arthritis?
The treatment of arthritis is very dependent on the precise type of arthritis present.
An accurate diagnosis increases the chances for successful treatment.
Treatments available include physical therapy, splinting, cold-pack application, paraffin wax dips, anti-inflammatory medications, immune-altering medications, and surgical operations.
Some kinds of Arthritis 1. Osteoarthritis (OA)
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis.
Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause inflammation of the tissue around the joints, as well as in other organs in the body.
While rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, meaning it can last for years, patients may experience long periods without symptoms. However, rheumatoid arthritis is typically a progressive illness that has the potential to cause joint destruction and functional disability.
Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways.
Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.
The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.
Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood.
The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. People who have asthma have inflamed airways. This makes the airways swollen and very sensitive. They tend to react strongly to certain inhaled substances.
When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This narrows the airways, causing less air to flow into the lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the airways may make more mucus than normal. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow your airways.
Asthma can't be cured. Even when you feel fine, you still have the disease and it can flare up at any time.
However, with today's knowledge and treatments, most people who have asthma are able to manage the disease. They have few, if any, symptoms. They can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma.
From the past to the present
Physicians in ancient Greece used the word asthma to describe breathlessness or gasping.
They believed that asthma was derived from internal imbalances, which could be restored by healthy diet, plant and animal remedies, or lifestyle changes.
Asthma is derived from the Greek word panos, meaning panting.
How does asthma affect breathing?
Asthma causes a narrowing of the breathing airways, which interferes with the normal movement of air in and out of the lungs.
Asthma involves only the bronchial tubes and does not affect the air sacs or the lung tissue.
The narrowing that occurs in asthma is caused by three major factors: Inflammation, Bronchospasm, and Hyper reactivity.
The first and most important factor causing narrowing of the bronchial tubes is inflammation.
The bronchial tubes become red, irritated, and swollen.
This inflammation increases the thickness of the wall of the bronchial tubes and thus results in a smaller passageway for air to flow through.
The inflammation occurs in response to an allergen or irritant and results from the action of chemical mediators (histamine,leukotrienes, and others).
The muscles around the bronchial tubes tighten during an attack of asthma. This muscle constriction of the airways is called bronchospasm.
Bronchospasm causes the airway to narrow further.
Bronchospasm can occur in all humans and can be brought on by inhaling cold or dry air.
Hyper reactivity (hypersensitivity)
In patients with asthma, the chronically inflamed and constricted airways become highly sensitive, or reactive, to triggers such as allergens, irritants, and infections.
Exposure to these triggers may result in progressively more inflammation and narrowing.
The combination of these three factors results in difficulty with breathing out, or exhaling. As a result, the air needs to be forcefully exhaled to overcome the narrowing, thereby causing the typical "wheezing" sound.
Complications Pneumothroax ( collapsed lung due to an air leak ) Acute failure Death