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Understanding Eczema (Research Paper Sample)


understanding causes, effects, and treatment of Eczema


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Eczema can be defined as a chronically relapsing, inflammatory, and non-contagious skin disease. Its prevalence in the U.S is approximately 12% in children and around 7.2% in adults (NCBI, 2017). It is mainly characterized by itchy rashes, which mainly affects children. These acute flare-ups and itchy rashes can significantly affect the quality of life as one may have difficulties concentrating or sleeping well. This paper aims to discuss the pathology, physiology, and pathophysiology of the body system affected by Eczema, treatment, and prevention.
Various biological and environmental factors cause Eczema. One of its leading causes is a disturbed epidermal barrier, resulting in dry skin, consequently leading to a high epidermal water loss (Ring, 2016). The corneal layer does not provide sufficient protection as it is damaged by the inflammatory response occurring in the skin. This has the effect of enhancing penetration of irritative allergies and substances to the skin. This epidermal barrier disruption may arise due to genetic alterations. For instance, the null mutations in gene filaggrin, which is essential in making the skin’s outer layer through the holding up and accumulation of the keratin cytoskeleton, may strongly predispose one to the development of Eczema condition (Boothe &Tarbox, 2017). Due to deficiency in filaggrin production, the equilibrium of fats in the skin is destabilized, making the skin lose high moisture levels. This damages the skin, making it lose its protective role from irritants and allergens that may cause infections. Besides, the mutation of the gene filaggrin has the effect of causing Ichthyosis Vulgaris, which may lead to the risk of Eczema, particularly during the beginning of persistent sensitization (Ring, 2016). Moreover, persons who have allergic asthma or hay fever are also predisposed to Eczema as their immune systems release antibodies to counteract allergens such as pollen and foods such as eggs, resulting in inflammation. The genetic composition of Th2 cytokines such as IL-4 has been proved to cause Eczema as they inhibit filaggrin expression (Boothe &Tarbox, 2017). Th2 cells in the skin induce inflammatory reactions among many skin cells, causing an epidermal barrier. The resultant dry skin with reduced epidermal barrier function leads to a general hypersensitivity of the kin towards all types of irritant factors such as tobacco smoke, rough woolen clothing, and physical factors such as sweating and heat. High-stress levels are known to cause aggravation of Eczema as most patients respond more to a- adrenergic compared to the B- adrenergic (Ring, 2016). Moreover, scratching of the skin and physical irritation such as sweating, hot water, and UV exposure further weaken the epidermal barrier.
Eczema is known to cause various medical effects on the affected persons. Firstly, most patients are prone to defective cellular immunity, leading to a wide range of infectious diseases that can be fungal, viral, or bacterial. Moreover, there is a high prevalence rate of contact allergy among eczema patients. Secondly, a great proportion of Eczema patients have an increased cholinergic reactivity, which may give rise to enhanced release of vasoactive mediators such as histamine (NCBI, 2019). Eczema's condition results in inflamed and cracked skin, facilitating the easier spread of the herpes virus. This results in small blisters and sore skin, leading to the development of other symptoms such as fever and tiredness. Also, Eczema patients suffer from exacerbations of their skin lesions after contact with distinct aeroallergens such as pollen (Boothe &Tarbox, 2017). Eczema patients have reported food allergy and other non-allergic food hypersensitivities, with most cases being seen in children.
Eczema develops through three stages, which include the acute, sub-acute, and chronic stages. In the acute stage, which is also referred to as flare-up, an Eczema rash develops and is mainly characterized by itching, extreme redness, bumps swelling, and fluid-filled blisters. The sub-acute stage is the transitional phase to the chronic stage and is mainly characterized by flaky and scaly skin, cracks in the skin, itching, and redness, which may not be intense compared to the acute stage (NCBI, 2017). Moreover, rash borders are not very distinct, whereby the rashes are dry rather than blistered and oozing. Rashes in this stage are usually irritant dermatitis and perioral dermatitis, which persist in this stage. In the chronic stage, flares are longer–lasting, and symptoms may take around three months before they appear. This stage is mainly characterized by thickened, leathery-looking skin, cracks in the skin, dull or discolored skin, excoriation where there is a high proportion of skin breakdown, and accentuated skin lines (NCBI, 2017). Eczema affects the back of the knees, the inside of elbows, and the back of the neck. The rashes may also develop on the palms of the person's hand and their feet' soles.
Due to its chronic condition, Eczema treatment helps regulate the rashes and itching through various options. First, treatment remedies can be done through the use of emollients and lipid-replenishing products, which are applied to the skin twice a day to prevent it from drying out (NCBI, 2017). Secondly, treatment of eczema flare-ups can be done by applying steroid creams as they relieve itching and inflammation. Thirdly, treatment can be done by applying Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus, which are not approved for children aged below two years.
The wet dressing is another effective and intensive treatment of severe Eczema that involves wrapping the affected area with topical corticosteroids and wet wraps. This kind of treatment is mostly done in hospitals as it is labor-intensive and requires nursing expertise, especially for people with widespread lesions. Light therapy can also be administered to people who quickly flare up after treatment or do not get better with other topical treatments (Mayo Clinic, 2020). It involves exposing the skin to considerable amounts of natural sunlight. Despite its effectiveness, it may

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