Eczema Takes a Toll on Quality of Life

A July 2018 study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology  reported that the itch, dryness and other symptoms of symptoms of eczema have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life, or “QOL”

The study of 602 adults with eczema showed that the symptom causing the greatest burden or impact was itching. This was reported to be a problem in over one-half of participants (54%). Other problematic symptoms included  excessive dryness of the skin (19%) and red or inflamed skin (7%). Skin pain and sleep disturbance were also reported to be very burdensome.

Importantly, a high percentage of all those surveyed considered themselves to only have fair (25 percent) or poor (15 percent) overall health and reported being somewhat (16 percent) or very (11 percent) dissatisfied with life compared to those who do not have eczema.”according Dr. Feinberg, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago who was quoted in a review article published in Practical Dermatology.

“We were not surprised to discover that symptoms of eczema can lead to mental health disturbance and impaired quality of life,” says allergist Luz Fonacier, MD, ACAAI Fellow and co-author of the study. “Even those with mild eczema reported it limited their lifestyle, impacted activities or led to avoidance of social interactions. The harmful effects were even worse for those with moderate and severe eczema. Almost half of adults with severe eczema reported quite a bit or a great deal of a burden in their lives.”

The article is a reminder of the need of patients to seek care from a qualified medical professional to minimize the impact the condition on their lives.

Although there is no “cure” for eczema, there are many effective treatments available to reduce the symptoms (itch, oozing, flaking…etc.). The recommended treatment will vary depending on the age, severity and duration of symptoms, as well as a person’s past response to treatment. In some cases, people will respond very well to the regular use of a moisturizer and occasional use of a topical corticosteroid. Others may experience more severe symptoms and require more aggressive therapies, such as wet wraps, or biologic therapy, such as dupilumab (Dupixent).

The symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis) may come and go, and it is important to maintain routine skin care measure to keep them under control.