Which age groups have the highest prevalence of atopic dermatitis (AD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Cassandra Bradby, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Atopic dermatitis predominantly affects infants and young children. Eczema is apparent in the first year of life in 60% of cases, and its onset is before 5 years in 75% of cases. [7] Onset of eczematous appearing disease in adulthood should lead the physician to consider another diagnosis.

A triphasic course of atopic dermatitis across the lifespan has been proposed. Phase I develops before IgE sensitization has taken place and occurs mostly in infants who are likely genetically predisposed to the disease. Phase II involves IgE sensitization to food, environmental antigens, or both. Phase III is the product of chronic scratching and is characterized by the formation of IgE autoantibodies against proteins of keratinocytes and endothelial cells.


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