Natraderm and Eczema

Atopic Dermatitis Causes Print E-mail
Written by Admin   
Monday, 28 August 2006

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

The cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, but the disease seems to result from a combination of genetic (hereditary) and environmental factors.

Children are more likely to develop this disorder if one or both parents have had it or have had allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever. While some people outgrow skin symptoms, approximately three-fourths of children with atopic dermatitis go on to develop hay fever or asthma. Environmental factors can bring on symptoms of atopic dermatitis at any time in individuals who have inherited the atopic disease trait.

Atopic dermatitis is also associated with malfunction of the bodys immune system.

Atopic dermatitis is also associated with malfunction of the body's immune system: the system that recognizes and helps fight bacteria and viruses that invade the body. Scientists have found that people with atopic dermatitis have a low level of a cytokine (a protein) that is essential to the healthy function of the body's immune system and a high level of other cytokines that lead to allergic reactions. The immune system can become misguided and create inflammation in the skin even in the absence of a major infection. This can be viewed as a form of autoimmunity, where a body reacts against its own tissues.

In the past, doctors thought that atopic dermatitis was caused by an emotional disorder. We now know that emotional factors, such as stress, can make the condition worse, but they do not cause the disease.

This article has been adapted from NIH Publication No. 03-4272. No information has been added. A few sections have been omitted as they were not strictly relevant. The full version and other useful health information is available by visiting our links section and clicking on NIAMS. 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 October 2006 )
 

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