What Diseases are Related to Eczema?

Eczema has been linked to an increased risk of various health conditions, such as asthma, hay fever, food allergy, obesity and heart disease, according to Dr. Silverberg.

Atopic dermatitis

is one of a group of allergic conditions, known as the “atopic walk”, which includes asthma, hay fever and food allergies. If a person has one of these conditions, the likelihood of developing another atopic condition increases.

Contact dermatitis is also considered atopic, although its relationship to asthma and hay fever is unknown. A recent study found that people with eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) are at an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become dry, red, itchy and lumpy. It is one of the many types of dermatitis. Eczema damages the skin's barrier function (the glue of the skin), making it more sensitive and prone to infection and dryness. Healthy skin helps retain moisture and protects it from bacteria, irritants and allergens.

Eczema is linked to a genetic variation that affects the skin's ability to provide this protection. This allows the skin to be affected by environmental factors, irritants and allergens. Eczema is a general term that describes various inflammatory skin conditions or dermatitis. Several types of dermatitis involve an overreaction of the immune system, and some research suggests that autoimmunity may play an important role. For adults with eczema, the disease can usually be well controlled with good skin care and treatment, although outbreaks of symptoms can occur throughout life. Previous studies had shown that drugs that broadly suppress the immune system reduce symptoms in patients with the disease, but the field had not described in detail the molecular mechanisms involved.

Interleukins are examples of cytokines, immune proteins that amplify the body's action against invading viruses and bacteria (which cause related inflammation), but which can mistakenly attack body tissues as part of autoimmune diseases.Autoimmune conditions can cause eczema and skin rashes, but having any of these conditions would not necessarily lead the doctor to diagnose an autoimmune disease. When there are two diseases or chronic diseases in the body at the same time, they are called “comorbidities” or “related health conditions”. However, more research on how AD develops is needed to confirm that it is an autoimmune disease and, if so, what treatments might help. For example, infliximab (Remicade), one of the medicines doctors prescribe to treat Crohn's disease, can cause eczema. The findings also suggest that eczema itself may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, possibly due to the effects of chronic inflammation. Variations in many other genes are likely to be associated with the development of atopic dermatitis, although most of these genes have not been definitively identified or related to the disorder.

If you have eczema, you may be surprised to learn about other conditions related to your skin condition. Researchers found that people with eczema smoke and drink more, are more likely to be obese and less likely to exercise than adults who don't have the disease. Some of these disorders are Netherton syndrome; immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked syndrome (IPEX); and severe dermatitis, multiple allergies, metabolic wasting syndrome (SAM). Dr. Silverberg noted that lifestyle factors related to eczema and other health conditions such as smoking, drinking and obesity can be changed.

Riya Hutchings
Riya Hutchings

On a quest to combat Contact Dermatitis!