Eczema is a skin disease that affects mental health as well

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Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic inflammation in which sufferers have dry skin with severe itching and frequent sores. However, its effect on patients and families is not limited to the skin only. Symptoms of the disease usually appear in childhood, and adults can also develop it.

The spread of eczema is expanding in developing countries, as statistics recorded that 10.8% of children aged 13-14 years in Eastern Mediterranean countries suffer from this disease at some point in their lives.

Its severe effects on quality of life are often ignored by sufferers of the disease, which can lead to patient and caregiver fatigue. It can be difficult for people without the disease to realize the challenges posed by living with cracked skin and intense itching that can cause bleeding.

In addition to physical symptoms, eczema affects patients’ mental health and overall well-being, as people with it, especially adults, are more prone to depression and anxiety. Since no curative treatment has been found to date, the disease may negatively affect the patients’ academic, professional and social lives with high psychological and financial burdens.

That is why most patients resort to topical treatments to relieve itching and inflammation. However, there are still major gaps in the treatment of this disease, including the lack of scientific data on the effects of this disease, which is not understood by many, and which constitutes a source of embarrassment for those affected by it. This results in a lack of resources to assist in educating patients and caregivers about the physical and psychological effects of illness.

The comprehensive report, commissioned by Pfizer and GlobalSkin, the global association of foundations for dermatological patients, by the Economist Intelligence Unit, titled “Unclear Skin Disease: Charting Atopic Dermatitis,” emphasizes the importance of a multidisciplinary healthcare approach to achieve comprehensive care for affected people. With this disease, especially since they need physiological and psychological support.

Implementing such approaches requires creating a system that focuses on providing patients with the right skills and information and raising their self-confidence to better treat their condition. In essence, this system is based on close cooperation between psychologists and nutritionists to develop a multi-pronged treatment plan tailored to each patient’s case. The report also shows that patients can benefit from the development of educational materials, such as brochures, awareness campaigns about the disease, and others. To ease the burden on the health care system, patient support groups can help meet basic needs by empowering patients and highlighting their needs and challenges.

Community awareness of eczema disease is an important future step to raise the priority of the disease on the health agenda. A better life for people with the disease can be created when a unified strategy brings together different actors, including health care professionals, policy makers, pharmaceutical companies and patient support groups.





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