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Adult Eczema could be a Risk Factor for Fractures

Update Date: Oct 30, 2014 02:45 PM EDT

Eczema, which is a chronic inflammatory illness characterized by skin itchiness, could be a risk factor for fractures and other kinds of injuries in adults, a new study reported.

For this study, the researchers, Nitin Garg, M.D., and Jonathan I. Silverberg, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., of Northwestern University, Chicago, set out to examine the relationship between adult eczema and risk of injury. They analyzed data on 34,500 people between the ages of 18 and 85. All of the participants had a history of eczema within the past year.

Overall, the researchers found that the eczema prevalence rate was at 7.2 percent. The prevalence rate of any injury-causing limitations was two percent. More specifically, 1.5 percent of the adults reported fracture and bone or joint injuries (FBJI), whereas 0.6 percent experienced other injury-causing limitations.

Adults suffering from eczema, fatigue, daytime sleepiness or insomnia had higher rates of FBJI in comparison to adults who had sleep symptoms but did not have eczema. Adults with eczema combined with psychiatric and behavioral disorders (PBDs) had higher rates of FBJI when compared to adults who only had eczema and adults who only had PBDs.

"In conclusion, adult eczema is associated with an increased risk of injury, particularly FBJI, which is only partially related to the presence of sleep symptoms and PBDs. Taken together, these data suggest that adult eczema is a previously unrecognized risk factor for fracture and other injury, emphasizing the importance of developing safer and more effective clinical interventions for itch and sleep problems in eczema, as well as preventive measures for injury risk reduction in eczema. Future studies providing better measures of fracture risk are needed to confirm these associations," the researchers concluded according to the press release.

The team also found that the number of injuries started to increase with age, peaking when the participants reached the age group of 50 to 69. After age 70, however, the rate started to decline.

The study was published in JAMA Dermatology.

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