We tend to think of eczema as being a skin condition only, a rite of passage of childhood for some, but research is showing that people with eczema may have other conditions that are related. An eczema diagnosis may be followed closely by another diagnosis.
Eczema causes red, dry skin that can itch intensely. Most people are diagnosed as a child, but eczema can pop up at any stage in a person’s life, with estimates well into the millions of sufferers worldwide. Eczema can affect someone both physically and mentally, with increased risks of sufferers developing allergic conditions like asthma, hay fever and food allergies (which we commonly know about) but uncommonly understood connections include those that connect eczema with obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Why these connections exist, researchers aren’t sure, but it may be due to inflammation from the eczema influencing other body systems, or the eczema symptoms negatively affecting sleep and health in other ways that have a trickle-down effect.
Infections are also more common in eczema sufferers, because the skin barrier is broken down. This means people with eczema suffer more bacterial infections such as impetigo (‘school sores’) and cellulitis. Eczema can also weaken the immune system, leading to more colds, flu, and urinary tract infections.
Additionally, anxiety and depression can arise from eczema symptoms. Itching tends to get worse at night where there is a greater surface area of skin with more pressure from the sheets and blankets and mattress compared to regular clothing that tends to hang, rather than push fibres against us. This can cause nighttime to become quite unpleasant and sleep to be interrupted, and nobody functions properly after frequent nights of interrupted sleep.
Controlling eczema on a short and long-term level is of critical importance for more reasons than you thought.
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