More Than Skin Deep: Eczema Related to Other Health Conditions
Do you have dry, itchy, rashes that come and go? These are the common signs of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis.
Eczema, although primarily a skin problem, has been linked to conditions such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. But the danger doesn’t stop there.
According to a 2015 study, it puts you at a higher risk for two fatal health conditions found in adults: heart disease and stroke. This heightened risk could be because of the eczema itself, or the coexisting negative lifestyle habits, such as smoking or drinking.
What’s the connection?
Hay Fever and Asthma
In the past, scientists thought that eczema was caused by allergies, but later found that the connection was more complicated than that.
Two in 10 Filipino adults have allergic rhinitis, and 80% of asthma sufferers also have allergic rhinitis, marked by sneezing and runny, stuffy nose. How does eczema factor in?
Eczema, along with asthma and allergic rhinitis, belong to the atopic diseases marked by an increased tendency to develop allergy. Eczema, also known as skin asthma, may be triggered by food and other substances (such as pet dander, dust mites, milk ,eggs and soy). That means their consumption or contact with these substances may cause a reaction leading to an eczema flare-up.
According to the National Eczema Association, children whose family has a history of hay fever and asthma are more prone to developing eczema.
One research proposes an idea of why contact with triggering substances may lead to an eczema flare-up. According to its findings, many people with eczema lack a type of protein that helps form the protective layer of the skin. The absence of this protein weakens and dries out that barrier, making the it easier for triggering substances to penetrate the skin and causing a cascade of reactions that lead to flare ups.
Heart Disease, Stroke & Obesity
What’s the relationship between your skin and your heart health? The answer proposed by this American research is inflammation. People with eczema experience chronic inflammation so severe that its effects go beyond the skin and throughout the rest of the body.
Acute inflammation is the body’s natural way of responding to intruders. But when the inflammation is chronic, as it is in people with eczema, it can lead to systemic inflammation, hence increasing the risk of heart disease. Researcher Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, says, “It may be that chronic inflammation from eczema directly increases cardiovascular risk.”
The study also found that eczema sufferers were 54% more likely to be severely obese, 47% more likely to have high blood pressure, and over 30% more likely to have high cholesterol – all contributing factors to heart disease.
This doesn’t mean that everyone with eczema develops heart disease. It just goes to show that eczema is more than just a skin problem and needs more attention.
What’s the Next Step?
Get your symptoms under control. In addition to applying Mometasone Furoate (Elica®) cream to relieve swelling and itching, eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as leafy green vegetables and fatty fish. Minimize stress, and get enough sleep. If you’re worried about your heart health, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor for a screening.
Can Your Child Inherit This Skin Condition?
Children inherit our facial features, skin color, and even our utter lack of athletic ability. But did you know we can also pass down skin conditions like eczema?
The Link between Food Allergies and Eczema in Children
There is a link between food allergies and eczema in children. Parents with children who have eczema, especially those with more severe forms, must therefore be aware of the increased risk for developing food allergies.
ASC Reference No.: B045P021921ES