Study Links Eczema to More Dangerous Diseases
A new Northwestern Medicine study has discovered that adults with eczema, the common name for atopic dermatitis, are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. This is largely because people with eczema are more likely to smoke, drink and be obese, while they are less likely to exercise. About 10 percent of American adults suffer from eczema.
“Because eczema often starts in early childhood, people are affected all through their developmental years and adolescence. It hurts their self-esteem and identity,” said lead author Dr. Jonathan Silverberg. “That’s part of why we see all these negative behaviors.” Exercising also presents difficulties for eczema patients, since the disease often flares up during workouts.
The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, examined medical records for 27,157 and 34,525 adults. It found that eczema patients are:
- 54 percent more likely to be morbidly obese
- 48 percent more at risk for hypertension
- 93 percent more at risk for pre-diabetes
- 42 percent more at risk for diabetes
- 36 percent more likely to have high cholesterol
Silverberg thinks that dermatologists ought to check in on their patients’ lifestyles and offer interventions for behaviors like excessive drinking and smoking. He is currently researching methods for patients to exercise without worsening their flare-ups.
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