Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD, FAAD, a board-certified pediatric dermatologist presented new research at the 2012 American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) Summer Academy Meeting on the importance of early intervention for young patients with skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Research has shown an increased incidence of asthma, hay fever, and food allergies in patients with atopic dermatitis. Small genetic mutations in proteins present in the epidermis are common in people with dry skin and are associated with much higher rates of asthma and peanut allergies. Findings also showed that children with atopic dermatitis also have higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More severe forms of dermatitis are associated with increased chances of developing ADHD.

Strong data show an association between psoriasis and an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity in adults. In addition, children with psoriasis also have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, abnormal liver function tests, lipid abnormalities, and hypertension. A case-controlled pediatric study (n=100) revealed that 50% of pediatric patients with psoriasis were overweight or obese vs. 32% of those without psoriasis. Another study showed that 45% of psoriasis patients had ≥1 risk factor for cardiovascular disease compared to <33% of patients without psoriasis.

Dr. Eichenfield recommended that children with psoriasis be assessed for cardiovascular risk factors in order to try to decrease these risks in adulthood. He concluded by advising parents to, “consult a board-certified dermatologist at the first sign of a skin problem in their children.”

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