Individuals who begin experiencing atopic dermatitis (AD) symptoms as children have vastly different patient journeys and experiences than those who began experiencing symptoms as adults, a new survey from Health Union suggests.
Of the survey's 400 respondents, there was a nearly 50-50 split between the respondents who began experiencing symptoms before they turned 18 and those who started experiencing symptoms after turning 18.
Respondents who started experiencing symptoms before age 18 have been living with the condition for a long time – 84 percent of respondents stated they were diagnosed more than 10 years ago. On the other hand, three-quarters of respondents who started experiencing symptoms in their adult years have been diagnosed for less than 10 years.
Those who experienced AD symptoms prior to age 18 were more likely to have recently dealt with accentuated skin lines, skin cracks, cracks behind the ears, eye symptoms, hives and bumps or patches that bubble up and weep fluid. They are also impacted by AD symptoms on various parts of their body, including on or around their ears, eyes, mouth, neck, shoulders, hands and skin folds, the survey showed.
Those who experienced symptoms prior to adulthood reported having more than half of their body covered, whereas those who developed symptoms as adults were more likely to report less than 5 percent of their body covered.
Individuals who were symptomatic before turning 18 were more likely to say they also experience a number of related conditions in conjunction with their AD including allergic contact dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, asthma, food allergies, skin infection, eye problems and anxiety or depression.
Respondents who began experiencing symptoms as adults go through a range of concerns as they seek care and treatment. These respondents were more likely to not agree with their healthcare professionals on the severity of their condition and more likely to say they don't feel their AD is under control with their current treatment plan.
Additionally, female respondents who started experiencing symptoms after they turned 18 were more likely than those who started experiencing them before to say their AD symptoms worsened after a number of life events, including pregnancy, during and after menopause and after undergoing a hysterectomy.
"Atopic Dermatitis In America 2019 shows the importance of understanding that a condition can surface at different times in people's lives, greatly impacting the patient journey," said Olivier Chateau, co-founder and CEO of Health Union. "It also drives home the need for an online health community that can provide information, connection and support for people with atopic dermatitis, who often have vastly different experiences."
Atopic Dermatitis In America 2019 surveyed 400 people impacted by atopic dermatitis from March 13 to July 23, 2019.