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Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis: Introduction

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition in which the skin is extremely sensitive to many substances. Atopic dermatitis is marked by itching, inflammation, redness, and small blisters on the skin.

Atopic dermatitis occurs when skin is more sensitive to certain substances than normal. Atopic dermatitis is linked to allergies and may involve an abnormal response of the immune system to environmental substances. Atopic dermatitis is also called atopic eczema and is one of many types of eczema, one form of dermatitis.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis can occur in patches on the skin and may appear as small pimples or blisters that crust over or rashes that come and go and may disappear altogether. The appearance, severity, symptoms, and triggers of atopic dermatitis vary between individuals. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis also include itching of the affected area.

Uncomplicated atopic dermatitis is generally not a serious condition, but itching and scratching can lead to increased inflammation, open breaks in the skin, and a secondary bacterial infection or fungal infection of the surrounding skin and tissues. This is called cellulitis and can be potentially serious in some people. For more information on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

People who are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis include those with a personal or family history of allergies, hayfever or asthma.

A diagnosis of atopic dermatitis can often be made by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam. A diagnosis made need to be made by a specialist in allergies and skin conditions, such as an allergist or a dermatologist.

Skin patch testing may be performed. In a patch test, small amounts of common allergens are applied methodically to the skin to determine what substances are triggering an allergic response, leading to the atopic dermatitis.

Because the symptoms of atopic dermatitis may be similar to other skin conditions, such as psoriasis, shingles, hives, or poison ivy, a misdiagnosis is possible. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of atopic dermatitis.

There is currently no cure for atopic dermatitis, but the condition can be controlled with a good treatment plan. Treatment plans are individualized to a person's medical history, severity of atopic dermatitis, the type of substances that trigger an attack, and other factors.

Treatment begins with the prevention of flare-ups. This includes an integrated plan to reduce exposure to substances that cause a flare-up of atopic dermatitis, (allergens). It is also important to minimize skin dryness. A variety of topical and oral medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and cure secondary infections. Another type of treatment that may be effective for some people with atopic dermatitis is phototherapy.

A combination of treatments that include lifestyle changes with medications and other treatments as appropriate is the most effective way to best control atopic dermatitis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of atopic dermatitis. ...more »

Atopic dermatitis: Skin disorder characterized by chronic inflammation, and pruritis. Often hereditary and associated with allergic rhinitis and asthma. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Atopic dermatitis is available below.

Atopic dermatitis: Symptoms

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis can vary greatly in intensity, frequency, and duration among individuals. Symptoms can be minimal and include mild itching and the development of a rash or patch of inflamed skin and blisters or small pimples. Scratching, however, generally does not relieve the itch and can lead to increased inflammation, more intense itching, ...more symptoms »

Atopic dermatitis: Treatments

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that is not curable. However, with a well integrated, medically monitored plan of care, symptoms can be effectively controlled, and people with atopic dermatitis can lead active, comfortable lives. A good treatment plan is individualized to a person's medical history, severity of atopic dermatitis, the specific ...more treatments »

Atopic dermatitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the atopic dermatitis begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam.

A misdiagnosis is possible because the symptoms of the atopic dermatitis can be similar to other diseases, such as diaper rash, psoriasis, shingles, chicken pox ringworm, hives, poison ivy, or other forms of dermatitis. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Atopic dermatitis

  • Increased serum IgE
  • Dry flaky patches of skin
  • Red patches of skin
  • Itchy patches of skin
  • Patches of reduced skin pigmentation
  • more symptoms...»

Treatments for Atopic dermatitis

  • Identify and avoid contact with irritants or triggers where possible. Consider use of gloves etc
  • Bathe in tepid water using a PH neutral soap or soap substitute. Avoid prolonged bathing
  • Soaking baths with bath oil or colloidal oatmeal for moderate to severe disease or disease flares
  • Moisturise promptly after bathing. Non - perfumed products are preferred
  • Wet compresses - aluminium acetate or potassium permanganate for infected eczema, or tap water after emollient and/or topical steroids for 15-60 minutes to increase benefits of topical therapy
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Atopic dermatitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis: Related Patient Stories

Atopic dermatitis: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Atopic dermatitis:

Causes of Atopic dermatitis

Read more about causes of Atopic dermatitis.

More information about causes of Atopic dermatitis:

Disease Topics Related To Atopic dermatitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Atopic dermatitis:

Atopic dermatitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Atopic dermatitis

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Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines more »

Atopic dermatitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Atopic dermatitis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Atopic dermatitis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Atopic dermatitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Atopic dermatitis

Medical research articles related to Atopic dermatitis include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Atopic dermatitis: Animations

Research about Atopic dermatitis

Visit our research pages for current research about Atopic dermatitis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Atopic dermatitis

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Atopic dermatitis include:

Statistics for Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis: Broader Related Topics

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Atopic dermatitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Atopic dermatitis:

Chronic inflammatory skin disorder in individuals with a hereditary predisposition to a lowered threshold to pruritus; characterized by extreme itching, leading to scratching and rubbing that result in typical lesions of eczema. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A severe form of dermatitis characterized by atopy - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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