Dementia: Eczema identified as potential risk factor – how to prevent the condition

Eczema: Dermatology Nurse explains how to use emollients

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Dementia is the result of a build-up of toxic molecules in the brain that prevents communication between brain cells. The eventual outcome of this is a decline in mental functions, which can take years to develop. In the advanced stages, the condition can completely steal sufferers of their independence, leaving them plagued with debilitating confusion and memory loss. A number of risk factors have been linked to the condition, but some of the latest to come to light are skin conditions such as eczema.

A new study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, included data from more than a million participants identified by the Health Improvement Network database in the UK.

The data revealed a higher incidence rate of dementia among individuals with atopic eczema, compared to those without the condition.

Patients with eczema had a higher risk of dementia even after adjusting for other confounding factors.

The association even persisted after adjusting for systemic corticosteroid use – a treatment commonly used for eczema – and other confounders.

READ MORE: Study hints at a way to live longer while reducing your exposure to Alzheimer’s disease

What’s more, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia was found to be higher in patients with severe eczema.

The findings chime with those from a 2021 study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, which showed that patients with eczema were more likely to develop any dementia, but particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

The study found the risk of dementia after eczema showed an average onset of five years.

The scientists hypothesised that dysregulated inflammatory pathways could affect the central nervous system, which may be involved in dementia.

During an allergic flare-up, eczema triggers a release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are believed to play a critical role in dementia pathways.

Other researchers studying the link between eczema and dementia have made note-worthy discoveries too.

Scientists have shown that the skin condition may be linked to neuro-immune response which could impair specific brain functions and the circuits involved in memory and cognition.

How to prevent eczema

Eczema results from a number of factors, including immune system activation, genetics, environmental factors and stress.

While there is no sure way to prevent the condition, steps can be taken to alleviate and lessen the severity of symptoms.

According to the Website Know Your Skin: “Atopic eczema is a complex condition and a number of factors appear important for its development including patients’ susceptibility and environmental factors.

“Patients typically have alterations in their skin barrier and overly reactive inflammatory and allergy responses.”

Exposure to soaps, detergents and other chemicals applied to the skin are all environmental factors known to cause the condition.

When skin becomes infected by the condition it dries out rapidly, so treatment for eczema focuses on restoring lost moisture.

Harvard Health explains: “Baths and showers must be short and not too hot. Afterwards, gently pat your skin and promote apply moisturisers while your skin is still moist.

“Thick creams that lock in the moisture help the most. Be sure to choose creams or lotions without fragrances or preservatives.”

Source: Read Full Article