Atopic eczema has become more common globally and affects up to 10 percent of all adults, but few studies have assessed if it is associated with increased risk of death. Atopic eczema is very variable in severity and activity, but no study has examined whether any association between atopic eczema and mortality differs by these characteristics. If atopic eczema is associated with increased mortality, this is important from both a public health and a therapeutic perspective as atopic eczema is common.
Like a fence or barricade intended to stop unwanted intruders, the skin serves as a barrier protecting the body from the hundreds of allergens, irritants, pollutants and microbes people come in contact with every day. In patients with eczema, or atopic dermatitis, the most common inflammatory human skin disease, the skin barrier is leaky, allowing intruders - pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites and others - to be sensed by the skin and subsequently wreak havoc on the immune system.