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Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

Although the exact causes of atopic dermatitis are still being investigated, researchers believe that it is a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Other possible causes have been linked to a malfunction in the immune system. However, scientists have discovered that while emotional factors can make the condition worse, they are not causes of atopic dermatitis.

Atopic Dermatitis Causes: A Summary

Although the cause or causes of atopic dermatitis are not known, atopic dermatitis research scientists believe that the condition seems to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Children are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis if one or both of their parents have had it or have had allergic conditions, like asthma or hay fever. While some people outgrow skin symptoms, approximately three-fourths of children with atopic dermatitis will develop hay fever or asthma. Environmental factors can cause symptoms of atopic dermatitis in individuals who have inherited the disease trait.
Atopic dermatitis is also associated with a malfunction of the body's immune system. The immune system recognizes and helps fight bacteria and viruses that invade the body. Scientists have found that patients with atopic dermatitis have a low level of cytokine, which is an essential protein that is needed to keep the immune system healthy. Likewise, high levels of cytokines can lead to allergic reactions.
The immune system can become misguided and create inflammation in the skin even in the absence of a major infection. This can be viewed as a form of autoimmunity, in which the body reacts against its own tissues.
In the past, doctors thought that one of the possible causes of atopic dermatitis was an emotional disorder. However, researchers now know that emotional factors, such as stress, can make atopic dermatitis worse but will not cause the condition.

Atopic Dermatitis Information

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