Understanding Atopic Dermatitis

Dr. Jan Dutz, Skin Centre, Vancouver, BC, talks about what Atopic Dermatitis is, it's symptoms and how it is diagnosed.

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Dr. Jan Dutz, Skin Centre, Vancouver, BC, talks about what Atopic Dermatitis is, it's symptoms and how it is diagnosed.
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Featuring Dr. Jan Dutz, Skin Centre

Duration: 1 minute, 48 seconds

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that commonly starts before the age of five. It is associated with scaly rashes that can be almost anywhere on the skin, and it is associated with significant itch. This is a condition that comes and goes, but essentially is chronic.

Atopic dermatitis is an overreaction of your immune system to stimuli on your skin from the outside. We now believe that most people with atopic dermatitis have a problem with the skin barrier. The envelope that surrounds you is more leaky in patients with atopic dermatitis. This allows chemicals, bacteria, substances to enter into the body and results in a reaction of your immune system, and that reaction causes scale and causes itch.

What we diagnose atopic dermatitis based on the history of chronic itch, scale, and the characteristic pattern of involvement in different areas of the body. And that pattern changes depending on your age group. In children, it’s often the head and neck; in adults, it can be the folds of the body—we call it the antecubital fossa—or the area just by the crook of the elbows, or the crook of the back of the knees. It can also involve the hands, and in fact any part of the body, but the most common areas are the ones that I’ve just told you about.

If you have any further questions about atopic dermatitis and its treatment, please go see your doctor or your skin specialist.

Presenter: Dr. Jan Dutz, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.