New understandings of skin conditions can improve quality of life of children and teens with psoriasis and eczema

At the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr Lawrence Eichenfield, a board-certified paediatric dermatologist, presented a report on new research into atopic dermatitis (AD, the most common form of eczema) and psoriasis.

Millions of children in the Western world are affected by skin conditions such as AD or psoriasis. The toll on the families of those children affected is immeasurable – dealing with sleepless nights, pain management and skin flare-ups among other things. Recent research has shed light on these skin conditions, and may contribute to a better understanding in order to manage and possibly prevent the development of skin conditions in children.

People with AD have more incidences of asthma, hay fever and food allergies. Small genetic mutations have been found in the proteins on the surface of the skin, common in those with dry skin, and scientists believe the mutations are contributing to dry skin, and may lead to eczema. The mutations are in turn associated with higher rates of asthma and peanut allergy. Peanut allergy is now thought to be caused by peanut coming in to contact with the skin rather than by the oral consumption of peanuts.

There is also new information that suggests that there are higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with AD – and this may be caused by the sleep disturbances in children with AD. It has been found that the more severe the AD, the higher the chance of developing ADHD.

Psoriasis, another chronic skin condition characterized by thick, scaly, red, itchy patches, is found to be associated with an increased risk (in adults) of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

A recent study involving 100 people found that 50% of people with psoriasis were over weight compared with 32% of people without the condition. In another study, 45% of psoriasis patients had at least one of these risk factors of cardiovascular disease - abnormal liver function tests, fasting glucose or lipid levels - compared with under a third of people without psoriasis.

Dr Eichenfield concluded that the impact of inflammation over time must be measured, and whether obesity and psoriasis are occurring together or whether the obesity is causing the higher incidence of psoriasis. The risk of cardiovascular disease should also be assessed in children with psoriasis in order that the risks can be decreased into adulthood.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


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