According to the latest data from the Spanish Society of Clinical Immunology, Allergology and Pediatric Asthma ( SEICAP ), asthma affects more than three million people in Spain, and atopic dermatitis affects more than 1.5 million.
Both diseases have a very high impact on the quality of life of patients, and in many cases they occur simultaneously in the same person.
Not surprisingly, it is estimated that more than 50% of children between the ages of six and 11 with moderate-severe dermatitis also have asthma , and in the case of adolescents this percentage can range between 49% and 81%.
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The impact of atopic dermatitis and asthma on the child’s life
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is an inflammatory skin disease with symptoms that can become persistent and sometimes even uncontrolled, and are mainly characterized by intense itching or pruritus, dryness, skin lesions or rashes.
Children and adolescents who suffer from it can be affected in different areas of life. For example, many reduce their social interaction, experience difficulty sleeping, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety; consequences that, in turn, can affect their school performance .
In this sense, experts estimate that adolescents with moderate-severe atopic dermatitis miss between 8 and 12 days of school due to their illness. In addition, 39% of students between 14 and 17 years old say they have been victims of bullying as a result of their dermatitis.
For their part, the families of affected children also suffer labor consequences ( according to studies , up to 73% of parents miss at least one day of work to take care of their children with AD), in addition to experiencing lack of sleep, anxiety and symptoms of depression .
As for asthma, it is a respiratory disease that affects 10% of Spanish children and is considered the second most prevalent disease among adolescents , after obesity.
This pathology in childhood reduces the quality of life of children , since it not only increases the risk of hospital admissions in the event of an uncontrolled crisis (especially in the case of severe asthma), but it can also affect their sleep, their physical performance and their social relationships.
In adolescence, asthma is an added difficulty to an already complex stage of life.
Thus, according to a report published by SEPEAP (Spanish Society of Outpatient Pediatrics and Primary Care), this pathology can affect the independence of adolescents, the development of their body image, the search for their own identity and even the relationship with the group of friends.
On the other hand, there is a serious risk that the adolescent underestimates the consequences that his illness could have.
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Understanding the connection between asthma and atopic dermatitis
As we said at the beginning, SEICAP statistics show that more than half of children with moderate or severe atopic dermatitis also suffer from asthma , a percentage that rises to 81% in the case of adolescents.
The coexistence of these pathologies in the same patient is not accidental.
The latest scientific advances have shown that both atopic dermatitis and a type of severe asthma are caused by an excessive response of type 2 inflammation of the immune system.
This inflammation causes the body to respond excessively to allergens or other triggering factors, and this response could play a determining role in inflammatory diseases such as dermatitis and asthma, as well as chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis, eosinophilic esophagitis and some allergies . food .
In addition, this common origin is also considered the reason why people with a type 2 inflammatory disease have a higher risk of coexisting with other pathologies of the same class.
A medicine that addresses the origin of both pathologies is now available for children and adolescents
Until now, children with severe atopic dermatitis had few treatment options to relieve their symptoms. But the use of a biological medicine called Dupixent (dupilomab) that acts on the triggers of type 2 inflammation has recently been approved in Spain .
This drug -which until then was only used in adults with severe AD- may start to be used in children and adolescents between the ages of six and 17 with severe atopic dermatitis, as well as adolescents from 12 years of age with severe asthma with type 2 inflammation .
” This drug represents an important advance for children and adolescents with severe AD and their families, who spend countless days and nights dealing with their children’s illness with few treatment options to help alleviate symptoms” – explained Dr. Raúl de Lucas, head of the Pediatric Dermatology section
at La Paz University Hospital.