The link between eczema and asthma

asthma and eczema

Our bodies are intricate systems, where one component often influences another. Certain conditions often go hand in hand such as eczema and asthma.

While they manifest in different ways, with one affecting our skin and the other our respiratory system, their underlying connections tell a fascinating tale about our body’s reactions and sensitivities.

Here we’ll explore the link between eczema and asthma.

Understanding the link between eczema and asthma

Eczema and asthma are both conditions that are associated with loss of function mutations in the genes for a protein called filaggrin whose role is to stick together the cells in the top layer of the skin and the lining of the lungs. This leads to a leaky skin barrier; a bit like a dry stone wall rather than a cemented brick wall.

The skin can then become inflamed in response to irritants and allergens in the environment causing an eczema flare-up with skin that is red, itchy, and it sometimes even oozes or forms crusty patches.

Similarly people with asthma are more prone to developing inflammation in the lungs triggered by allergens in the air. This can lead to symptoms including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Both conditions can be triggered by factors that vary from person to person. Sometimes the triggers cause both eczema and asthma symptoms. These triggers include:

  • Allergens – e.g. dust mites, pollen or mould
  • Irritants – e.g. dust, smoke and some chemical ingredients in household cleaners
  • Changes in weather – especially dry, cold air
  • Stress – causing hormonal changes

It’s important to note that not everyone with eczema will have asthma. However, if you have severe eczema symptoms, there’s a higher chance you’ll develop the respiratory condition. There’s also evidence to suggest that if a child has both conditions, it’s likely they’ll carry these symptoms into adulthood.

What causes eczema to suddenly develop in adults?

Although eczema most commonly presents in children, sometimes it starts later in life. Many adults suddenly find themselves dealing with this skin condition, often puzzled by its sudden appearance.

A variety of factors can be at play here. Stress, which we know can affect our health in all kinds of ways, can be a significant trigger for adult-onset eczema. Hormonal shifts, too, can play a role, as can environmental changes.

Everything from moving to a different climate to exposure to certain chemicals can influence our skin’s health. It’s a reminder that our skin, the body’s largest organ, is deeply sensitive to both internal and external changes.

Effective treatment options for eczema

If you do suffer from eczema, the good news is there are effective treatment options available. Modern medicine offers a range of solutions, from topical creams designed to soothe the skin, to more advanced therapies that target the underlying inflammation.

For a tailored approach to managing eczema, book an appointment with Dr Juliet Williams. With her expertise, you can begin treatment that is designed specifically for your unique needs and challenges.

Treating one condition has the potential to clear up the other. However, if you are struggling with symptoms of asthma, it is recommended to seek advice and treatment from your general practitioner.