Atopic Eczema and The Ethnic and Racial Disparities In Care
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Pfizer, Inc. to write about the signs, symptoms, and treatments available for eczema/atopic dermatitis in communities of color. All opinions are my own.
What You Need To Know About Atopic Eczema and The Ethnic and Racial Disparities In Care
Atopic Dermatitis or eczema is something that most of you have probably heard of. You or one of your family members may be living with this condition currently. If not, you probably know someone who is. Today we are going to discuss eczema and a common form of eczema, Atopic Dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema), and hopefully, open your eyes a little bit more to knowing where to ask the right questions and learn a little bit more about this condition.
Did you know that around 16.5 million adults in the US have atopic dermatitis, with 6.6 million reporting moderate-to-severe symptoms? Although atopic dermatitis most commonly develops early in life, it can persist into adulthood for many patients. One thing you may not know is that Atopic dermatitis affects all races; however, it is more common among Black children and Black and Hispanic children are more likely to experience more severe cases.
Atopic dermatitis is most commonly associated with other allergic/atopic conditions such as allergy, asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. I have experience with this condition first hand because my oldest daughter was diagnosed with eczema at a very early age.
Before I share my personal experience with you I want to share some facts about Atopic Dermatitis.
What are eczema and atopic dermatitis?
- Eczema is the general name for a group of dermatologic conditions that includes contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, and others.
- Atopic dermatitis can be a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment. It is an intrinsic process influenced by the environment but not caused by the environment.
- Atopic dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that can happen any time of year; it is often worse in the winter months, but for some patients, it can worsen in the summer months due to the heat and humidity.
- More severe cases of atopic eczema can be quite painful and cover large areas of the body. In school-aged children, it is often found in the inner creases of their arms, back of legs, back of the neck.
- In patients with darker skin, it might not present with redness, it might present with dark spots or itchy dark spots that get thicker over time.
When it comes to researching online about eczema and atopic dermatitis —only 1/3 of websites dedicating content to eczema are in agreement with current clinical thinking on this disease. Be sure to check your research with resources that are dedicated to this condition. I will share a list of a resource in this post if you would like to learn more.
My experience with eczema with my daughter.
At first, I thought that this condition was normal for babies and children. I didn’t pay that much attention to it because it was something that I thought would just “go away”. But then I started to notice that she would have flare-ups with patches of dry, itchy skin showing up in the creases of her arms and on the backs of her knees. This was concerning for me because it kept coming back. We changed her soaps, body lotion, and detergent but she would still have the rashes appear.
After trying all of my at-home remedies, I decided to schedule an appointment with her pediatrician. We found out that she has a severe allergy to peanuts and that she is asthmatic. Every time she would get sick with what we thought was a “cold” her atopic eczema would flare.
We tried a few topical creams that worked ok in the beginning, but it wasn’t until we got her asthma and food allergy under control where we started to see a change in her conditions. What I didn’t know at the time was that African American, Black, and Hispanic children are more likely to have severe atopic dermatitis than white children. To be honest, I would have never thought that race would play a role in my daughter having atopic dermatitis.
I will be sharing another post soon on The Latest Treatment Options for Atopic Eczema You Need To Know. Where we will continue this very important discussion.
Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis is a big deal and I wanted to let you know that Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and I would appreciate your input. ( Please note: The survey contains links to external sites. Any such links are provided as a convenience and for educational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or legal advice, nor are they endorsements of any organization.)
The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with atopic dermatitis, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize, and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.
As promised, below are the links to resources on eczema and atopic dermatitis.
Links to external sites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They are not intended and should not be construed as legal or medical advice, nor are they endorsements of any organization. Med-IQ bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of any external site. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.
National Eczema Association: NationalEczema.org – https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-in-skin-of-color/
Skin of Color Society (org)
American Academy of Dermatology. Eczema Resource Center. (https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema)
National Medical Association (https://www.nmanet.org/
Hilton L. Eczema More Common in Black Patients. [Insights from Dr. Andrew Alexis] Dermatology Times November 24, 2019. https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/eczema-more-common-black-patient
Penn Medicine News. Hispanic and Black Children More Likely to Miss School Due to Eczema Than White Children. May 22, 2019. Available at: https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2019/may/hispanic-and-black-children-more-likely-to-miss-school-due-to-eczema-than-white-children.
Guidelines: American Academy of Dermatology Atopic Dermatitis Clinical Guideline. (https://www.aad.org/member/clinical-quality/guidelines/atopic-dermatitis)
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