As if living with eczema wasn’t already bothersome enough, there are several studies with research supporting eczema’s connections to other health issues. This makes understanding, managing and caring for your eczema even more important and relevant to your overall health.
Health Issues Linked to Eczema
Recent research supports that eczema has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. The research findings proposed one possibility for this to being the increased inflammation a patient dealing with eczema is subject to.
Eczema has also been linked to obesity. Findings concluded that it is more difficult for patients with this skin disorder to exercise because sweating can irritate eczema flares and cause excessive itching. In addition this study noted that people with dermatitis are more likely to consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes, which both can cause a worsening of symptoms.
Besides the physical health issues linked to dermatitis, mental health issues including depression have been attributed to developing with some sufferers of this condition. This is most likely in direct correlation of the self esteem and confidence issues that derive from embarrassing outbreaks and aesthetically displeasing symptoms affiliated with the disease.
What Can You Do?
The first thing you need to do is speak with a dermatologist about your condition. It is important for you and your doctor to sit down and devise a plan that will help you gain control of your disorder. Educate yourself about the triggers and lifestyle changes needed to get a handle on things. Your doctor can help you properly manage your symptoms and can prescribe medications if needed to ensure a more successful regimen.
Before selecting your dermatologist, research the options available to you: ask around, read online testimonials and reviews. Ask your personal physician if they have any recommendations. Long over are the days of opening the yellow pages and randomly dialing numbers. Do your homework.
How To Control Flare Ups
There are several measures you can take to calm the itch that goes along with eczema. It is important not to scratch at your itch because you run the risk of tearing your flesh, leaving it more susceptible to infection. One of the most common bacterial infections that can occur is caused by Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is often times found in the naval cavities, making it all the more important to keep your fingers out of your nose!
Here are a few steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms of eczema:
- Reduce stress
- Epsom salt/baking soda baths: 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup Epsom salt in a full tub of lukewarm water for 15 minutes.
- Keep your fingernails short so that if you do itch you are less likely to break the skin.
- Use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air so your skin won’t dry out causing that itch.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
- Take over the counter antihistamines.
Another important part of clearing flares and eliminating itch, perhaps the most key element is moisturizing. Avoid skin care products that contain allergens and harmful chemicals including: parabens, sulfates, alcohol, oat/gluten and formaldehyde.
Use products rich in ceramides for the best skin barrier optimization (SBO). Ceramides make up about 20% of your bodies epidermis and are lost in extreme dry climate, sun damage and other environmental factors. It is important to replace them in order to allow for your skin to repair itself.
Dr. Cheryl Lee Eberting is a board certified dermatologist that has dedicated her practice and research to develop skin care treatment options for conditions such as: eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.