“Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as part of a paid program. All opinions are my own.”
As a child, my parents taught me to treat others with kindness, respect, and compassion. But, there are bullies out there who skew that command and taunt, insult and tease others. Did you know there are adult bullies? Yes! Unfortunately, my husband Chris has been bullied as an adult because of a skin disease called atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic form of eczema1 that is characterized by unpredictable flare-ups triggered in part by a malfunction in the immune system.2,3,4,5 Symptoms can include red rashes, intense itch, dryness, cracking, crusting and oozing of the skin, and they can occur on any part of the body.¹
For Chris and my daughter Caitlin, their atopic dermatitis is on their elbows, knees and sometimes, even on their faces. Unfortunately, a flare-up can cause a disruption in Chris’ sleep and his daily activities. He’ll even avoid social situations or leaving the house because he is in so much physical pain – it is difficult for him to move around. Chris loves to play golf and basketball with his friends from work, as well as work out with me at the gym. During a flare-up, he is honestly just too embarrassed by the way his skin looks that he’ll choose not to go to the gym with me. Even more, he’ll avoid playing golf or basketball, because the sun can sometimes irritate his skin, so playing his favorite sports during a flare-up is just not an option. What many people may not know are the hidden impacts of this disease beyond the physical symptoms. Chris is very self-conscious about how his skin looks with this disease. If you knew how friendly and outgoing he was, you would be surprised to see how introverted he is during a flare-up.
My husband recently told me of a sad story that occurred while he was at work. He is a delivery driver and often times wears short sleeves to work. During a recent delivery, my husband happened to have a visible flare-up on his elbow and was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. When he went to deliver a package to a customer, the customer pointed to my husband’s elbow and said, “You better not have gotten THAT on my delivery!” My husband was really upset about this comment and talked to me about the need to educate others about this disease.
This is why I am excited to learn about Understand AD, a national campaign focused on educating people about moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and raising awareness about the physical and quality of life impact of the disease.
One of my favorite celebrity chefs, Elizabeth Falkner (Food Network, Bravo’s Top Chef), who has been living with atopic dermatitis for more than 20 years, is the spokesperson for the Understand AD campaign. Elizabeth, along with Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron and in collaboration with the National Eczema Association and the Dermatology Nurses’ Association, is educating Americans about the physical and quality of life impact of atopic dermatitis.
I encourage you to visit www.UnderstandAD.com to learn more about Elizabeth’s experience, hear from other people living with the disease, learn more about moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and get connected with advocates such as the National Eczema Association and the Dermatology Nurses’ Association.
Understand AD also just released new survey data to help quantify the physical, psychological, social and professional impact on American adults living with the disease. The survey asked 505 U.S. adults (18 years of age and older) who self-reported being diagnosed with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis a series of questions about their experience with the disease. The survey findings showed moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis may affect not only patients’ skin, but multiple aspects of their lives. Key findings include:
- 53 percent of people living with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis reported that their disease has negatively impacted their daily lives
- 82 percent have made lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding social engagements, being in pictures and participating in sports/exercise
- 55 percent reported that their confidence was negatively impacted due to their disease
- 49 percent say their sleep has been negatively impacted by the disease, moderately or significantly
- 23 percent of people feel depressed and 28 percent feel anxious due to their AD
- 20 percent report that their AD has impacted their ability to maintain employment and 16 percent have made career choices that limit face-to-face interactions with others because of the disease
Visit www.UnderstandAD.com to learn more about moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and the survey findings, and to hear from people living with the disease.
I received compensation to write this post. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, Kelly Hutchinson Disclosure.
1 http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/health- library/diseases-and- conditions/atopic-dermatitis#risk Accessed: September 21, 2016.
2 National Institutes of Health (NIH). Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis (A type of eczema) May 2013. Available online: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Atopic_Dermatitis/default.asp. Accessed: September 21, 2016.
3 Gittler JK, et al. Progressive activation of TH2/TH22 cytokines and selective epidermal proteins characterizes acute and chronic atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012; 130:6. 1345-1354.
4 Leung DYM, Boguniewicz M, Howell MD, Nomura I, Hamid QA. New insights into atopic dermatitis. J Clin Invest. 2004;113:651-657.
5 Lebwohl MG, Del Rosso JQ, Abramovits W, et al. Pathways to managing atopic dermatitis: consensus from the experts. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013;6(7 Suppl):S2-S18
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