Atopic dermatitis (AD) - better known as eczema - is the most common chronic skin disorder seen in infants and children. In fact, the prevalence of this condition has risen dramatically during the last three decades. Currently, 15% to 20% of children in the United States are expected to experience this condition sometime during their lifetime, compared to 7% around 1960.
The negative impact of eczema is profound and insidious. It affects both the patient who suffers from it and that patient's family members, and it does so on two important levels - physical and emotional..
- Inflamed, itchy rashes can involve any and all of the skin surfaces and are frequently complicated by skin breakdown and bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
- It is linked to the development of life-long allergic conditions, including asthma, food allergies, and rhinitis.
- Any level of AD can be extremely uncomfortable and, at times, painful. Individuals with moderate to severe disease report that eczema hugely disturbs their sleep and impacts performance of daily activities, including adverse effects on school, sports activities, work, and peer relationships.
- In studies, individuals with eczema reported more negative impact on quality of life than those with insulin-dependent diabetes!
- Patients and their families experience considerable emotional distress, anxiety, and embarrassment because of people’s response to this illness. In fact, the emotional scarring on both patient and family members may outlast eczema's physical effects.
- Caregivers and families can especially suffer because of the psychosocial stress the disease takes. Constant itching leads to disrupted sleep which can imapir relationships and job performance. A cycle of anxiety and stress forms, and some people are not even aware that it is happening!
- Patients can experience considerable discrimination and social isolation because of this illness. People often stare, shiver with disgust, or step back in fear from those who have this condition. The end result for patients: A life-time of struggle with their sense of worth and self esteem.
Where can these patients and families turn for help and support? Where can state of the art clinical care and research be comprehensively joined to minimize the impact of eczema on individuals, families, and our communities?
We are proud to announce the development of The Eczema Center at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego!
The Eczema Center is dedicated to clinical care, family education, and research on atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory skin diseases.
The first of its kind in the country, The Eczema Center practices comprehensive patient care and is committed to integrating basic and clinical research for prevention and improved treatment of eczematous dermatitis. Education of patients and families is a central part of the The Eczema Center's mission.
The Eczema Center is based at Rady Children’s Hospital and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), in conjunction with:
- Pediatric and Adolescent Dermatology, Rady Children’s Hospital and UCSD
- Dermatology Research Unit, Rady Children’s Hospital
- Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, UCSD
- Department of Pediatrics, UCSD
- Children’s Specialists of San Diego
- Community and Corporate Supporters
- The Eczema Center will establish medical, educational, and emotional support to eczema patients and their families. As one of the few resources in existence offering this kind of support, the program will provide:
- Education and support to the caregivers of eczema patients.
- A model for optimum care for this condition.
- A center for clinical, translational, and basic research on atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory skin diseases.
- The Eczema Center will create a network of support designed for caregivers of eczema patients. Through newsletters, workshops, and regular meetings, participants in the program will receive information on the newest treatment modalities and research pertaining to the disease including:
- Practical suggestions for disease control.
- Information on new drugs being developed.
- Research studies underway in their area.
- The Eczema Center will, above all else, provide affirmation and hope to eczema patients and their families - affirmation of the profound effects of this disease and hope for its treatment!