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Relentless Itching That Makes Eczema

Essay by   •  July 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  303 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,645 Views

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It is the relentless itching that makes eczema such an uncomfortable disorder. In spite of this atopic dermatitis is commonly called eczema, the name of its most visible sign, the rash. For as long as people have been scratching, eczema has been of the main culprits. Over thousands of years myriad myths about its cause have been passed from generation to generation. Now, for the first time, scientists know that eczema is the result of the abnormal growth of some 20 genes responsible for controlling how the skin interacts with the environment. The skin, when functioning properly, acts as a barrier to irritants and infectious agents. But for those with eczema, the skin barrier function fails, permitting irritants to pass through to underlying tissues. These irritants trigger the immune response, the itchy rash that characterizes eczema. This new understanding of eczema is the result of revolutionary research in immunology and molecular genetics, now finally available to the general public.

With the discovery of the underlying cause of eczema, new and more powerful treatments with fewer side effects are being developed. It is now possible to provide accurate guidance for self-care that alleviates the terrible itching and painful rash. We now know, for example that it is not necessary to avoid dairy products, because diet has no effect on eczema. Oatmeal baths, on the other hand, recommended by Egyptian physicians thousands years ago, actually do relieve the itching.

Researchers have shown the more eczema sufferers know about the disorder, the better control they have over their symptoms. Even though knowledge is the most powerful tool for managing eczema, there is little factual information available for patients and their families. The aim of this paper is to explain the cause, how it is diagnosed and treatment of atopic eczema for adults and children.

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