An Expert Nurse Practitioner & Physician Assistant Exchange on the Management of Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis - Episode 2

Atopic Dermatitis Disease Prevalence by Age

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Lakshi Aldredge, MSN, ANP-BC, DCNP, provides an overview of the prevalence of atopic dermatitis across age groups and discusses the impact of itch on these patients.

Melodie Young, NP: Lakshi, I’ve heard that babies seem to have it more commonly than they have any other segment of pediatrics. We’ve heard that sometimes you can outgrow this by the time you’re 18, but what do you know about the prevalence of this disease that you’re seeing in infants to 18-year-olds as they move into adulthood? How common is it to see, and how often are we seeing it in clinical?

Lakshi Aldredge, MSN, ANP-BC, DCNP: We know that atopic dermatitis tends to begin in infancy or early childhood, but there can be adult-onset atopic dermatitis as well. The largest number of patients we see with this disease tends to be in infancy and early adulthood. In that age group, the burden of disease is significant. They’re often itchy, which is the primary complaint. The burden also significantly impacts the family of these small children and infants, because if they’re not sleeping, parents and other household members also aren’t sleeping. That can affect everything from their growth and development, their ability to function in school, and also for parents to be able to function in their roles as family caregivers or at their jobs and outside the home.

If we switch to adolescents, we see a trend where their hormones help improve atopic dermatitis, so we see a downward shift in the incidence or a prevalence of atopic dermatitis in adolescents. That’s not always the case. We definitely see adolescent and young adults with severe atopic dermatitis that also can be significantly burdensome. In this age group, they’re going to high school, preparing for college, starting their careers, and engaging in relationships. Having a very visible itchy disease can significantly impact that and their ability to concentrate in their school or work lives. As mentioned, we can have adult-onset atopic dermatitis, and this can have a significant impact on their ability to function within their occupation but also in their relationships and their sleep-rest patterns. It can impact all aspects of their lives.

Transcript edited for clarity