Lexicon for Atopic Dermatitis

This is a lexicon for Atopic Dermatitis.
Click on a letter and discover all the related terms and their definition.

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  • Aciclovir

     

    An anti-viral drug used to treat herpes and shingles. Aciclovir (or acyclovir) is specifically indicated for atypical or serious herpes which may appear during the course of atopic dermatitis (or even eczema herpeticum).
     
    Valaciclovir is a related drug that is transformed into aciclovir in the body. It has the same indications. Anti-virals are usually effective when taken orally.
     
     
  • Acupuncture

     

    Acupuncture is a technique from traditional Chinese medicine that involves placing needles in specific points around the body.
    Acupuncture is part of what is known as alternative medicine, alongside homeopathy, which is used by many who believe in its power to treat various conditions. 
    Aside from a placebo effect, which can be significant especially on the nervous state, acupuncture has no proven effects on atopic dermatitis.   
     
  • Adaptive immunity

     

    Part of the immune system that reacts by adapting specifically to antigens, thanks to receptors carried by lymphocytes or blood cells (antibodies). The main cells in adaptive immunity are T lymphocytes (carriers of receptors for antigens) and B lymphocytes, which make antibodies. All the various parts of the immune system work together, and cells in the adaptive immune system are activated by mechanisms in the innate immune system.  
     
  • Aeroallergen

     

    An allergen in the air, such as household dust, grass pollens, and animal dander. 
    Inhaling aeroallergens can cause respiratory allergies (rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, etc.). 
    It is possible that skin damage caused by atopic dermatitis allows aeroallergens to penetrate the skin. This is one of the reasons why we recommend effective treatment for atopic skin conditions in children, as in this way we may also be able to prevent aeroallergens from entering their bodies.
     
  • Allergen

     

    A molecule with the potential to trigger an allergic reaction or immunological hypersensitivity. 
    There are several varieties of allergen
    - Certain drugs can trigger drug allergies (such as penicillin).
    - Small molecules of nickel or chrome can cause contact eczema.
    - Food (food allergies)
    - Proteins present in our environment that are normal and tolerated by most people. This is the case with dust-mites for example, a significant allergen in atopy.
     
  • Allergy

    An allergy is an abnormal, excessive reaction of the body's immune system consecutive to contact with a foreign substance (the allergen).
    Allergies can take a number of forms, including eczema, asthma, hay fever, food allergies, and severe reactions to insect bites.

  • Allergy

     

    The term "allergy" has a specific meaning: hypersensitivity of the immune system, producing specific antibodies or lymphocytes for the allergen that causes the reaction.
    We may also suffer from intolerances, which are different to allergies, for example food intolerances.
    The primary allergic illnesses are rhino-conjunctivitis, asthma, certain types of eczema, and certain food intolerances.
    Atopic dermatitis is a special case: atopic patients are prone to allergies, but their eczema is not of an allergic variety; that is, it is not an intolerance of a specific substance. This is important because it explains, for example, why desensitization has never had good results in treating atopic dermatitis.  
     
  • Allergy tests

     

    A general term for a range of tests designed to prove an immunological sensitivity or allergy. As a general rule, allergy tests should be treated with caution, and assessed alongside the patient's complaints. 
    There are two types of allergy test: 
    - In vitro or laboratory tests, carried out on a blood sample. These are used to measure total IgE (allergic antibodies) as well as specific IgEs for a certain allergen. There are also more specialized tests which are reserved for research protocols.  
    - In vivo tests, carried out on the living patient. A potentially allergizing substance is administered to the patient to test whether it provokes a reaction. Of course, any such tests should be carried out by an experienced doctor, who knows how to implement them in such a way as to be certain that the results are accurate and useful, and also how to interpret them. Some of these tests may be helpful with regard to atopic dermatitis: intradermal or prick tests with immediate reading of results to prove atopic sensitivity, contact or patch tests with delayed reading to diagnose contact eczema, with an added atopy patch test in certain circumstances.
     
  • Alopecia

     

    A condition of the hair that results in rapid and total loss of hair, either in a limited area (alopecia areata), or over a large area, even the entire head (alopecia totalis). The hair on the body, the eyebrows and eyelashes can also be affected. Beyond the loss of hair, the skin is entirely normal. Alopecia is benign but can be extremely distressing, exacerbated by the fact that it is difficult to treat. Small areas of alopecia areata often grow back well. Some alopecia patients have atopic symptoms, but this has no practical consequence. 
     
  • Anallergic

    That does not cause an allergy

  • Anaphylactic shock

     

    A state of shock is an acute circulatory failure (syncope, hypo-tension). Anaphylactic (see term) shocks are acute allergies which require emergency treatment. 
     
  • Anaphylaxis

     

    This strange word means "the opposite of prophylaxis" or the opposite of protection. Anaphylaxis describes a substantial and acute allergy, with painful urticaria, swelling, and hypo-tension. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal if not treated quickly. It is often caused by a drug (such as a penicillin allergy).
     
  • Angular cheilitis

     

    Inflammation of the corner of the mouth. This is sometimes simply eczema, or even irritation. Sometimes it can be a bacterial or fungal infection
     
  • Anti-microbial peptides

     

    Substances naturally produced by the epidermis, with anti-bacterial properties. Antimicrobial peptides, or natural anti-biotics, are part of the innate immune system, and play an important role in defending the skin against infection, as well as playing other roles in the epidermis.  
     
  • Antibiotics

     

    Drugs that act on infections caused by bacteria. Atopic dermatitis is prone to secondary infection, which requires antibiotic treatment.
     
  • Antigen

     

    A molecule that triggers the production of antibodies to fight it. 
     
  • Antihistamine

    A drug used to reduce or eliminate the effects of histamine (an endogenous semiochemical released during allergic reactions)
    Examples of indications: allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, hives, atopic dermatitis ...

  • Antihistamine

     

    A drug that inhibits the effects of histamine. Histamine is primarily responsible for rhinitis and urticaria. It is not directly involved in atopic dermatitis, and thus anti-histamines have a limited role in its treatment. 
    Some anti-histamines can cause drowsiness. For this reason those taking them should be careful, for example if driving. However this calming effect is appreciated by some patients who may have difficulty sleeping, helping them deal with their pruritus.
     
  • Antiseptic

     

    A substance acting locally, on the skin for example, against bacteria and sometimes also viruses. In contrast to antibiotics, antiseptics have a broad spectrum  and therefore organisms do not build resistance to them. There are several different antiseptics, each with advantages (efficacy) and disadvantages (tolerance). Chlorhexidine is currently the most commonly used. 
    Each antiseptic has its most common usage, which should be respected in order to benefit from its advantages and not suffer from its disadvantages.  
     
  • Asthma

     

    Asthma  is a condition of the bronchial tubes, typified by a tendency towards broncho-constriction, that is, a narrowing of the tubes that prevents normal breathing (dyspnea, whistling, etc.). Certain types of asthma are caused by allergies.
    Asthma is also one example of an atopic condition, and some children with eczema are later also affected by asthma. This is what we call the "atopic career". It is difficult to prevent this development, but it is nonetheless best to remove all factors for bronchial irritation, above all smoke.
    Contrary to popular belief, treating eczema does not encourage asthma. In fact, by treating eczema, the risk of the skin's penetration by allergens is reduced, and thus the risk of triggering respiratory allergies such as asthma.  
     
     
  • Ataxia-telangiectasia

     

    A rare hereditary disease, of which the symptoms are balance troubles (the meaning of the word ataxia) due to lesions on the cerebellum, as well as dilation of small blood vessels in the skin (small varicose veins, known as telangiectasia) 
    Children affected with ataxia-telangiectasia may also have atopic eczema and other skin conditions, including a tendency towards infection.
     
  • Atopic career

     

    The term atopic career is often used to describe the fact that, often, different atopic conditions appear gradually over time: atopic dermatitis in infants, asthma in older children, and later rhino-conjunctivitis. However, this is not necessarily always the case, and the majority of children who suffer from atopic dermatitis do not go on to develop asthma. This idea is nonetheless worth investigating. For example, the current thinking is that epidermal abnormalities (such as filaggrin deficiency) encourage the penetration of allergens, which may later provoke respiratory allergies. Thus, by effectively repairing the epidermis using emollient and anti-inflammatory treatments, we may hope to prevent this sensitization. 
    These latest scientific ideas are in fact the opposite to the old wives tale, which says that it is a bad idea to "force out" eczema - a dangerous and harmful idea.    
     
  • Atopic dermatite

    Traanslation coming soon

  • Atopic dermatitis

    Atopic eczema (or atopic dermatitis) means the repeated inflammatory skin manifestations associated with atopy. Atopic eczema is a chronic, pruriginous and inflammatory dermatosis that evolves in the form of flare-ups.

  • Atopic dermatitis

     

    A term commonly used in all languages to describe inflammatory dermatitis related to atopy. The term "atopic eczema" is a synonym. In certain countries, the older term "Neurodermatitis" is sometimes used. 
     
     
  • Atopic diathesis

     

    "Diathesis" is a word taken from old French, which has practically disappeared from medical terminology. Atopic diathesis is therefore rarely spoken about, but it is basically a synonym for a tendency towards atopy: hereditary predisposition to atopic conditions: atopic dermatitis, allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, asthma, etc. 
     
  • Atopic eczema

    Atopic eczema (or atopic dermatitis) means the repeated inflammatory skin manifestations associated with atopy. Atopic eczema is a chronic, pruriginous, inflammatory dermatosis that evolves in the form of flare-ups.

  • Atopic eczema

     

    A synonym of atopic dermatitis
    If you are looking for information about the condition, for example using a search engine on the internet or medical journals, it is better to use the term atopic dermatitis as it is the most commonly used term. 
    In everyday life we talk about eczema.
     
  • Atopy

    Atopy is a genetic predisposition to allergies.
    "Atopy" is used in particular to describe certain diseases that affect a number of organs.
    For example, atopic eczema for the skin, asthma for the lungs.

  • Atopy

     

    The term 'atopy' was coined in 1930 to describe a particular kind of immunological hypersensitivity: atopy is a hereditary tendency towards allergies to things that are found in our normal environment, such as household dust and food.  
    The term atopy comes from the Greek: a-topos, meaning with no precise location, that is, a condition that is not fully understood.  
     
  • Atopy patch-test

     

    See Patch tests
     
  • Atopy School

    The Atopy School is a forum dedicated to the treatment of patients suffering from atopic symptoms.
    For example, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, diabetes ...

  • Atopy school

     

    (See also Atopy workshop). Generic term describing organizations that offer atopic patients (adults, children and their parents) educational workshops and sessions about the various aspects of the condition and the best way to improve it. As with other chronic diseases, atopic dermatitis benefits from therapeutic education, as it improves information, reduces worry, and facilitates correct and effective use of treatment. Our Atopic Dermatitis Foundation's website provides a lot of useful information about joining atopy schools or workshops: fondation-dermatite-atopique.org/atopy-schools.org
     
  • Atopy workshops

     

    Atopy workshops, or atopy schools, are organizations that provide services to atopic children and their parents that complement medical treatment, for example: detailed explanations about the condition and its treatments, personalized counseling, discussion on practical issues, made-to-measure useful information, meet-ups with other patients and parents, specialized nurses, psychologists and even dieticians.
    These workshops are part of 'therapeutic education' which is now properly standardized and recommended as part of treatment for chronic diseases. 
    Participation in workshops of this kind help to ensure better management of eczema and reduces concerns linked to the condition.
    Our Atopic Dermatitis Foundation's website provides a lot of useful information about joining in with atopy workshops: fondation-dermatite-atopique/atopy workshops.org
     
       
     
  • Auto-antigen

     

    Normally, the immune system only creates antibodies to fight antigens coming from outside the body. But sometimes the body's proteins act like antigens and can trigger an immune response. These are known as auto-antigens, and auto-immune diseases. In atopic dermatitis, epidermal proteins that have been damaged by inflammation and scratching can become auto-antigens, which prolongs inflammation. 
     
  • Auto-immune disease

     

    Normally, the immune system reacts against foreign bodies (most commonly microbes). In auto-immune diseases, it reacts against normal cells or organs of the body, which causes problems at organ level. For example, some kinds of thyroid disease are caused by auto-antibodies, which attack the normal components of the thyroid. Some bullous conditions (pemphigus, pemphigoides) are caused by anti-skin antibodies.   
     
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