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Medically reviewed by Dr. Samuel Sarmiento, M.D., MPH on August 3, 2023

Atopic dermatitis increases the risk of asthma and other allergy-related symptoms.

Other atopic and allergy conditions are also common. This includes asthma (10–30% of cases), food allergies, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and eosinophilic disorders.

This narrative review, published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology, demonstrates the severe, widespread impact of AD and the comorbidities of this disease.

Association Between Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma

Asthma, food allergies, and other allergy-related diseases have all been linked to AD in well-established and quantitative ways. Children with AD had higher relative rates of these symptoms. In a study of 80,000 American children, it was reported that 12.8% had eczema. Of these children, 25.1% also had asthma, and 32.1% had allergic rhinitis.
Direct Link Between Atopic Dermatitis and Lifestyle Changes

Certain comorbidities increase the severity of AD. There is a connection between obesity, metabolic syndrome, and severe AD. Cardiovascular illnesses can also increase the risk in certain cases. In children, AD had an association with type I diabetes but not type II diabetes.

Psychological Manifestations of Atopic Dermatitis

AD also has psychological effects, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, and, in severe cases, suicide. In a Taiwanese study comparing 387,000 children with AD to matched controls, autism and attention difficulties were more common in extremely severe AD or in early-onset cases.

Eye Conditions Are More Prevalent in Comparison to Other Systemic Diseases

The prevalence of digestive diseases is negligible among patients with AD. However, there is a stronger correlation between AD and a higher risk of staphylococcal and herpes infections, seizures, and migraines. Among the various skin problems, contact eczema, vitiligo, and alopecia are increased, although the risk of other autoimmune diseases is lower. In other disease areas, the data lack consistency. One exception appears to be eye disorders, which are significantly more prevalent among individuals with AD.

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Atopic patients have an increased risk of osteoporosis, as shown in data from the United States. People over the age of 70 are the most vulnerable. To mitigate these effects, the authors advocate monitoring for osteoporosis after age 50, physical exercise, weight loss, and adequate calcium and vitamin D consumption.

Gonzalez-Uribe, V., Vidaurri-de la Cruz, H., Gomez-Nuñez, A., Leyva-Calderon, J. A., & Mojica-Gonzalez, Z. S. (2023). Comorbidities & burden of disease in atopic dermatitis. Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology, 41(2), 97-105. https://doi.org/10.12932/ap-231022-1484