Neurodermatitis or atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease of the skin that leads to chronic and relapsing reactions. Atopic dermatitis is mainly triggered by environmental influences and allergens. Typical symptoms are dry and scaly skin and severe itching.
What is neurodermatitis?
In addition to hay fever and asthma, neurodermatitis or atopic dermatitis is one of the so-called atopic diseases. This leads to an overreaction of the immune system, which develops into an allergy-like disease with the formation of antibodies even under harmless environmental influences. See percomputer for Methylmalonic Aciduria Explanation.
Pollen and food in particular then trigger known allergens. Other terms for neurodermatitis are: endogenous eczema, neurodermatitis atopica and atopic eczema.
The term neurodermatitis is borrowed from the Greek and means something like “nerve-related skin inflammation”. However, the reference to a nervous cause is considered outdated.
As with other allergies, the cause of neurodermatitis is an overreaction or defensive reaction of the immune system to various environmental substances. The main triggers are dust, pollen and various foods. If these allergens get into the blood, the white blood cells (lymphocytes) try to fight these substances. As a result, the human body produces masses of these antibodies, even though the allergens do not actually pose a threat to humans.
In particular, the immune substance immunoglobulin E (IgE) then works with other messenger substances (cytokines) to trigger an inflammatory skin reaction. In addition, white blood cells, such as T-lymphocytes and the messenger substance histamine promote inflammation in the skin. This process is also considered to be the cause of the severe itching associated with neurodermatitis.
Other causes of neurodermatitis are: friction and contact with wool, foods such as milk, wheat products and nuts, cold and heat, and infections. Mental stress and overexertion can also trigger neurodermatitis. In most cases, those affected are particularly at risk due to hereditary or genetic predispositions. Parents who already have neurodermatitis are more likely to have children who will suffer from this disease.
Typical Symptoms & Signs
Neurodermatitis usually occurs on the face, hands or scalp. The symptoms of the disease can be very different, depending on their severity and the age of the patient. It usually occurs in episodes and the symptoms vary in severity with each episode. They are strongest in infancy and childhood, but sufferers also complain about symptoms during puberty.
Flares can also be triggered by certain external factors, such as poor air quality. Atopic dermatitis causes severe itching of the skin. Either only certain parts of the body are affected, or the entire skin is itchy. She is also very red. In infancy, the disease often develops in the bends of the arms and knees.
It can also occur in the mouth area. The areas are scaly, reddened and sometimes weeping. In adults, a leathery thickening of the skin often develops, mostly on the face but also on other parts of the body. The areas around the eyes and forehead, the neck and also the bends in the joints are often affected.
Sick people often also suffer from psychological stress due to neurodermatitis. It may be that they no longer dare to be around people because they are ashamed of the reddened skin, which is why they become very withdrawn.
course of the disease
The course of neurodermatitis usually begins in infancy. Neurodermatitis has a recurring and chronic course. Although no 100 percent cure is possible, the symptoms can be treated cheaply with early diagnosis and intensive therapy. There are various medications and therapeutic approaches that can be used to lead a reasonably normal life, despite neurodermatitis.
Due to neurodermatitis, those affected usually suffer from various skin complaints. In most cases, this is dry and can flake. Redness and itching also appear with this disease, significantly reducing the patient’s quality of life. As a rule, neurodermatitis can also spread to other parts of the body.
It is not uncommon for those affected to feel ashamed of the symptoms and thus suffer from significantly reduced self-esteem and, in some cases, from depression or other psychological problems. A general feeling of illness or exhaustion can also occur as a result of neurodermatitis and make everyday life more difficult. Children may be bullied or teased because of the visible symptoms.
Furthermore, it is not uncommon for pain to occur when the affected skin regions are used in everyday life. Neurodermatitis is usually treated without complications with the help of various care products. Success is achieved relatively quickly and the symptoms disappear in most cases without complications. Life expectancy is also not affected by neurodermatitis.
When should you go to the doctor?
Only a doctor can determine whether you have neurodermatitis. Anyone who notices any unusual skin changes, itching or scaly eczema in the crook of the elbow or knee should seek medical advice. Other skin symptoms should also be medically clarified, even if they are only mild. At the latest when the skin changes become more severe or other symptoms appear, you must seek medical advice. The family doctor can diagnose neurodermatitis and, if necessary, consult a dermatologist.
If there are cases of neurodermatitis or allergic diseases such as hay fever or allergic asthma in the family, there is an increased risk. People with existing skin diseases or hormonal complaints as well as people who are under great stress or suffer from food intolerance are also among the risk groups and should have the symptoms mentioned quickly clarified. The right place to go is your family doctor, a dermatologist or an allergy specialist. In consultation with the doctor, you can also go to a naturopath if you have neurodermatitis.
Treatment & Therapy
A doctor should be consulted at the first sign of neurodermatitis . Atopic dermatitis is not life-threatening, but the accompanying symptoms can sometimes make life difficult for those affected, so that medical therapy is advisable.
So far, two components have been used in the treatment of neurodermatitis. The first therapeutic measure is the basic therapy, which is mainly about a specific treatment or care of the inflamed skin. The care products prescribed by the doctor should be applied over a large area to the affected areas of the skin. The main thing here is to lubricate and moisturize the skin.
In addition, there is usually a therapy with drugs or medicines. These include, above all, creams, ointments and emulsions for external treatment, as well as infusions and tablets for internal treatment. However, this form should only be used in severe cases of neurodermatitis. The earlier the therapy against neurodermatitis is started, the better and more lastingly you can alleviate or delay the flare-ups of the disease.
In the rarest of cases, endogenous eczema occurs once, rather it runs in phases. Therefore, in addition to the therapy in the acute phase, the follow-up care between the attacks is particularly important. Because with the help of adequate skin care, supportive measures and special infant nutrition, the symptoms of flare-ups can be alleviated and secondary efflorescences avoided.
According to the current standard, optimal daily skin care is a moisturizing and neutral cream that is applied thinly several times. Even water temperatures below 39 degrees Celsius protect the lipid barrier and regenerate the damaged skin cells. In addition, clothing and bed linen made of cotton or silk support air circulation and thus prevent heat build-up and maceration.
Most patients also feel that the friction of cotton or silk on the skin is pleasant compared to wool or polyester. Children in particular should keep their nails short, because many scratch bloody marks at the beginning of a flare-up while they are sleeping. Supportive measures such as phototherapy or a low-allergy diet can effectively replace medication such as cortisone.
It is also advisable to create a low-allergen environment and to ensure room temperatures below 22 degrees Celsius. If the occurrence of herpes, chickenpox or MRSA becomes known in the circle of acquaintances, patients with neurodermatitis should avoid contact, since vulnerable skin areas are extremely susceptible to infections. If there is a family disposition, experts also recommend breastfeeding infants for six months with breast milk and only slowly increasing food allergens and feeding them separately.
Outlook & Forecast
Neurodermatitis is an incurable disease. However, the disease subsides in around two-thirds of affected children by adulthood. Atopic dermatitis can heal at any age and then not appear again for a lifetime. In other cases, the suffering persists for a lifetime and causes typical symptoms that limit the quality of life.
Chronic neurodermatitis affects about 30 percent of patients. Ongoing therapy produces significant relief from symptoms in most patients. Acute relapses of the disease can lead to severe irritation of the skin, especially in infants. In addition, repeated scratching of the affected areas leads to wounds and infections. The well-being of small children is therefore considerably restricted. Drug treatment and the associated side effects and interactions are often the only alternative.
Symptoms are just as severe in adults, although the triggers are usually known and can be effectively avoided. The responsible dermatologist usually makes the prognosis. Since the skin disease can subside spontaneously, the prognosis is repeatedly recalculated. For this purpose, the doctor consults the symptoms and the previous course of the disease.
You can do that yourself
Neurodermatitis can be very annoying and uncomfortable in everyday life. The affected areas of skin itch all the time, the clothes scratch and as a sick person you have to avoid the swimming pool, a lot of sun and sports. In addition, the reddened, scratched and sometimes bleeding skin attracts unpleasant looks from strangers. All of this is a huge burden.
In order not to aggravate the neurodermatitis, you can follow a few tips. In any case, those affected should resist the urge to further scratch the affected itchy skin areas. Light cotton gloves can be used at night to avoid scratching during sleep. When choosing care products and clothing, it is particularly important to be careful.
It is recommended not to use soap, but to clean the body parts only with clear water. Pat dry when drying, do not rub. Clothing should not be made of synthetic fabric and should only lie loosely on the skin. It must not scratch and heavy sweating should be avoided. Caution should also be exercised with cleaning agents. These should be as environmentally friendly as possible. Be sure to wear lined rubber gloves when cleaning.
The cause of neurodermatitis often lies in nutrition. It is therefore advisable to pay attention to a particularly healthy diet and, if necessary, to have an allergy test carried out by a doctor.