Five Subgroups of Eczema Identified
In a large study conducted in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, researchers identified five subgroups of eczema – a finding that could explain why the skin condition can affect people differently throughout their lives. Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a condition that usually begins in childhood and causes patchy areas of the skin to become irritated and inflamed. It is sometimes associated with an increased risk for asthma and allergies and may be hereditary.
This study involved 13,500 children from birth to age 11 or 16, about 40 percent of whom developed eczema during the study period. About one-third of the children with eczema developed the condition soon after birth and mostly outgrew it by age 5. For one in eight children in the study, eczema did not resolve and lasted into adulthood. According to researchers, these children were more likely to have relatives with eczema and were more likely to experience other health problems related to the condition, such as allergies and asthma.
The researchers defined the groups as eczema that:
- Starts in infancy and doesn't resolve
- Starts in infancy and lasts throughout childhood
- Starts in infancy and resolves in early childhood
- Starts in mid-childhood (age 6) and resolves later in childhood
- Starts in late childhood (age 11 through early teens) and then resolves