Is There a Link between Eczema and Asthma?

Eczema and asthma are not the same. However, some experts believe that there is a link between both conditions – though this issue is actually still not fully understood. Whatever the fact, it’s clear that they can be very bothersome. The following are pieces of helpful information you need to know!

What actually is asthma?

It is a recurrent (chronic) breathing problem. Typically, this inflammatory lung disease is characterized by the following 3 major airways problems;

  1. Hyper-responsiveness
  2. Inflammation
  3. Obstruction.

In general, if you have it, this can make your airways swell and narrow – and even it can produce excessive mucus. That’s why it can make asthma sufferers have difficulty breathing (shortness of breath). Many times, it also can trigger wheezing and coughing.

What are the risk factors?

Theoretically, it can affect people of all ages and all genders (both women and men). But there are some risk factors that can put someone at higher risk than others. These risk factors include:

  1. Environmental factors. For instance, your risk increases if you live in urban communities.
  2. Age, many times asthma is more common found at the age of 65 or older. It is also common in adolescents and kids (the ages of 5 – 17 years old).
  3. Having a personal history of allergies.
  4. And if you have a family history of the same problem.

What are the causes?

While experts have confirmed that there are some risk factors of the disease, unfortunately the exact cause of the disease is not fully understood yet. However, experts have some theories.

Several decades ago, many people believed that the exact cause of the problem was closely related with emotional factors such as nervous, anxiety, or stress.

But today, experts have confirmed that actually asthma is not directly caused by these emotional factors. They are considered to be more of a trigger factor ‘an effect’ instead of a cause.

However, these emotional factors also have an effect.  They can have an effect in aggravating an attack and worsen the symptoms. They can lead to fatigue, and this may become a starting point in affecting the immune system which then increases the symptoms [1].

What are the complications?

The effects of asthma can vary from sufferer to sufferer. While some find that it can be a major problem that can interfere with their routines, others find it is just a minor nuisance. However overall, it should be able to be controlled.

image_illustration118The complications may include:

  1. This inflammatory lung problem can cause permanent narrowing of the airways remodeling (bronchial tubes). This complication can significantly affect the mechanism of how well you breathe the air.
  2. Sometime the symptoms can be very bothersome. As a result, they may interfere with the daily activities such as work or sleep. During the flare-ups of asthma, sufferer may experience sick days from school or work.
  3. Even in severe attack, this can make you to visit the emergency room and then may make you to stay in the hospital for several days.
  4. Furthermore, the use of some medications for asthma in long term also can cause some side effects. If you concern about this issue, consult with your doctor for more guidance!

The good news, there are some effective treatments that can help reduce your chance of developing the complications (either long-term & short-term complications).

In addition, since the problem can change over time, you should work with your healthcare providers as well to track the symptoms and make the adjustments of appropriate treatments to cope with the problem [2]!

Knowing better about eczema

It is a group of medical health conditions that can make the affected skin to become irritated /inflamed. And like asthma, the exact cause of this skin disorder is also not unclear yet.

However, experts have some theories. Among these theories, some experts believe that the over-reactive response of the body’s immune system may play a key role.

Typically, the affected skin can be almost always itchy. And therefore, reducing the urge of scratching is often one of the major issues in treating the problem.

The itching sensation can come before or after the rash appears. The rashes of eczema usually initially come with reddish in color and then will turn to become brown.

If you have darker skin, there is chance for this skin problem to change the pigment of your affected skin. The affected area can be darker or lighter. See also types of eczema, before continuing!

Is there a link between both conditions?

According to a research conducted by the University of Melbourne, kids with eczema are at high risk of developing allergic asthma in their adulthood. If compared with kids who don’t have eczema, this risk is 9 times higher – particularly true in a group of children who also have hay fever [3].

Furthermore while having eczema in childhood may have an effect in increasing the risk of allergic asthma in adulthood, eczema itself (particularly atopic dermatitis ‘the most common type of eczema’) is also common in families with a history of asthma or other allergies [4].

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