By the Numbers: Symptoms and Complications

Just over 400 individuals with AD completed the online AD In America 2018 survey. This survey gathered information about their symptoms and diagnosis journey, as well as their quality of life and treatment experience.

Eczema Symptoms

Atopic dermatitis presents in a variety of ways and those visible symptoms can play a role in the emotional wellbeing of an individual. Not surprisingly though, the itching sensation that's associated with the visible rashes is the most distressing symptom of AD.

Age when symptoms first appeared

48% of those surveyed were under 13 at the age of symptom onset.

As symptoms present differently across the lifespan, doctors can diagnose the condition by looking in specific locations during the physical exam.

  • In infants: A rash will likely appear on the scalp, face, or arms and legs.
  • As a child: It appears inside creases of the elbows or knees, the neck, wrists, ankles, and/or the crease between the buttocks and legs.
  • As an adult: It typically shows up in inner creases of the elbows or knees, wrists and ankles, and/or the nape of the neck.

Eczema warriors who have never had clear skin

27% of respondents reported that their AD has never been cleared.

Skin clearance is the absence of or a reduction in any visible atopic dermatitis symptoms.

Monthly symptoms

Survey respondents experienced the following symptoms in the past month:

  • Intense itching (84%)
  • Painful/tender/inflamed skin (71%)
  • Dry scaly patches (67%)
  • Burning/stinging skin (64%)
  • Cracks in the skin (61%)
  • Pink/red rash that appears suddenly (53%)

Most symptoms are visible but nothing comes close to the intense sensation of the itch and the need to scratch. Unfortunately, this itch-scratch cycle typically perpetuates these symptoms.

Eczema Flares

A flare is an outburst or exacerbation of symptoms. Flares are typically triggered by stress, allergens, sweat and saliva, irritants, dry skin, infection, hormones, or weather and climate.

Number of flares in a year

Over half of respondents experienced 10 or more flares in the past year.

Sometimes flares are unavoidable and we don't know what caused them. Other times, they are caused by allergens or irritants. Knowing your triggers and trying to eliminate them can be useful in preventing future flare-ups.

Eczema warriors who were experiencing flares

45% of those surveyed were currently experiencing an atopic dermatitis flare.

Creating an action plan to manage flares can help while navigating the unpredictability of flare symptoms. An action plan should have instructions on bathing, moisturizing, when and how to use prescription or over-the-counter medications, as well as symptoms to watch out for, such as signs of an infection.

Eczema Complications and Other Conditions

There are a number of complications and comorbid conditions associated with atopic dermatitis. Because AD is more than skin deep, this includes a number of physical and psychological issues.

Eczema warriors who have allergies

Over 2/3 of participants have allergies along with their atopic dermatitis.

There are a variety of allergies a person may have. These include food, airborne, or contact allergens which can create or worsen an eczema flare.

Eczema warriors who have complications

92% of respondents experience the following complications with atopic dermatitis:

  • Allergic contact dermatitis (55%) - Allergic contact dermatitis causes a reaction when the skin comes in contact with a substance that it has developed an allergy to.
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression (54%) - The social stigma surrounding a visible condition, such as AD, can cause issues with bullying or self-esteem.
  • Eye problems (52%) - These eye problems can include itching, watery eyes, blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid), conjunctivitis (infection), and cataracts.

What symptoms and complications do you experience? How do you cope with them??

To continue on to Part 2 of our 2018 By the Numbers, click here!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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