Atopic dermatitis (atopic eczema) is a relapsing, inflammatory, pruritic and eczematous skin disorder.
The disease is related to the following processes: auto-immune and has an incidence of about 2,100 / 100.000.
A commonly occurring inflammatory skin disorder, atopic dermatitis, also known commonly as eczema, is a form of allergic reaction to allergens found in the environment. It is frequently described as a cutaneous manifestation of systemic allergic reactions (atopy) .
Atopic dermatitis is more common in children and is characterized by excessively dry, red and itchy skin. Various environmental and genetic factors have been implicated in the development of this disease. Although the condition persists over the years, it is not contagious and can be cured with medication.
Various genetic and environmental factors are thought to give rise to atopic dermatitis like the following:
Factors like pets, woolen clothing or exposure to pollens are the predisposing factors for the development of this disease.
In developed countries, the disease is found in 15-30% children and in 2-10% of the adult population. Atopic dermatitis has been linked to living in ‘excessively sanitary’ conditions.
A slight prevalence of disease in females as compared to the males has been reported. All races are equally affected. No specific geographic distribution, other than in pollen dense areas, has been found.
Two different theories have been proposed regarding the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis  .
The areas of skin most commonly affected are the skin folds like folds of arms, behind of knees, wrists, face and hands. In children, the extensor surfaces of limbs are commonly involved whereas in adults, usually the flexor surfaces get affected. The patients of atopic dermatitis present with the following clinical features  :
Of the patients who develop atopic dermatitis before the age of 2 years, 50% are likely to develop other forms of allergic reactions later in life.
No specific diagnostic tests are available for atopic dermatitis. Patient’s history and examination are helpful in reaching a diagnosis. Serum testing for IgE antibodies can be used to detect ongoing allergic reactions in the body.
It is essential to differentiate atopic dermatitis from other closely related diseases like seborrhic dermatitis on the basis of signs and symptoms and close examination of the manifestations.
Conservative treatment of atopic dermatitis includes the following :
Surgical measures for atopic dermatitis include the following:
The preventive measures against atopic dermatitis include:
Atopic dermatitis is a skin disease that affects children the most. Factors causing this disease mainly involve dust particles and other allergic substances present in the environment. It involves excessive dryness, redness and itching over the skin. Atopic dermatitis gives rise to an urge to scratch which should be avoided as much as possible because the eruptions can peel off, exposing the vulnerable ski underneath. This might become a cause of acquiring infections.
The condition is not contagious and is not transmitted from one person to another. These eruptions can be cured with proper care and treatment.