The Link Between Asthma and Eczema

the link between asthma and eczema

Asthma is a hard illness to live with and so is eczema. Studies have shown there is a line between the two diseases. According to WebMD when both parents suffer from asthma or eczema their children are more likely to get the illnesses.

What is eczema you might ask? Eczema is a skin condition that takes many different forms. It is usually red scaly blotches, blisters, or rashes on the skin. It is a disease that children, men, and women get. Sometimes the skin is itchy and sometimes the skin oozes and develops scabs. It depends on the severity of the condition.

The link between the two comes with a weakened immune system and the body’s reaction to other allergens. Often someone with eczema might be allergic to pollen, food, dust, and mites. It is a complicated connection that involves the study of genes, allergens, and antibodies.  Scientists are studying the connection but research takes time to yield results.

Allergies Antibodies and Genes

In some studies researchers have found that patients with eczema lack a protein from a gene called filiaggrin in the skin. This protein protects the skin and keeps bacteria and germs from entering.  The skin dries out and weakens due to lack of this protein. Patients with this problem react more strongly to soap and other products. It makes them sensitive to allergies and food too.

Those with eczema have a defect in their skin that provides a barrier or shield of protection. Allergens enter the skin easily which means you develop rashes, blotches, and blisters more easily. This often causes inflammation and itchy skin. Research has found a lackof a white blood cells that helps control how the body reacts to allergens another source. Finally people with eczema have too many antibodies or more than most people. This connection is being studied.

Children and Asthma

Many children that have eczema often get asthma months or years later. They have found a substance secreted from the skin circulates through the veins causing allergic reactions.  A study was conducted on mice according to Science Daily. This suggests that early treatment of  skin rashes might stop the development of asthma in children.

About 50 to 70% of children with severe skin conditions develop asthma. Overall only 9% of children develop asthma and only 7 percent of adults.  The substance linked to damaged skin that is secreted is called TSPL. a substance called thymic stromal lymphopoietin. It causes a strong immune system response when it is released into the skin.

This substance gets into the blood system from the skin and produces allergic reactions. This is the theory that scientist have come up with. It often reaches the lungs causing asthma symptoms. 

Mice that inhaled allergens in the study reacted strongly like a child or an adult might.  Their breathing was labored and excessive mucus was produced. The airways contracted and lungs were invaded by white blood cells. The research shows the link and in the future ways to block or stop this reaction will be made.

Doctors and scientist have to learn how to stop the skin from making TLSP. Research for this study came from the Washington University National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Toyobo Technology Foundation Grant and Japanese Society Promotion for Science.

What Can You Do Now

If you or your child has skin rashes see a dermatologist and get it treated. Keep a journal and try to find out what caused your skin rash or child’s. This might take time noting food, times of year, and possible sources of allergies. Don’t use products that you have a reaction to materials, soaps, perfumes or chemicals.  Avoid what triggers your allergy like pollen, dust, and chemicals triggers

Finally go to the dermatologist to be tested for allergies where they can prescribe a diet or medication that will help with the eczema and what causes it. The link between eczema and asthma is still being studied and the cure is coming. Don’t’ wait see a local dermatologist soon.

By Joan Russell