Exercise is work, but it's more work when you suffer from a chronic disease. I am a long-time sufferer of eczema, which is annoying, and painful when infected. Although eczema isn't considered a debilitating disease per se; it is a point of contention to a person who suffers from the itchy, patchy, scaly skin disease.
During my senior year of high school, I began to have red patches of dry skin next to my nose and my hair line. It itched, and even worse, it oozed. To my surprise, it was eczema, and I learned that exercise makes it itch severely.
Eczema: A chronic skin condition
Eczema is a long term, chronic skin condition, often referred to as an auto-immune disease, but it is not contagious and does not spread from person to person. Its common characteristics are:
- "Weeping" clear fluid
- Thick skin
It is common in children, with as many as 10% of infants afflicted with by chronic disease, but it usually goes away by age seven. Adults and adolescents can still develop eczema though; just as I did. Eczema is also related to the development of hay fever and asthma.
It's not exactly known why eczema develops, but research shows that environmental and genetic factors play a role. Examples of environmental factors are heat, humidity, stress, detergents, excessive bathing, soaps, rough clothing, smoke and stress.
Immune imbalance and exercise can cause flare-ups
Researchers are under the belief that an imbalanced immune system is also a reason for the development of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. In "Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis" it is written, "Indeed, the skin of people with atopic dermatitis shows increased susceptibility to skin infections. This imbalance appears to result in the skin's inability to prevent inflammation, even in areas of skin that appear normal."
Excluding exercise is not a solution for eczema
Exercise triggers factors that irritate eczema such as overheating and sweating. With excess sweat showers are needed more often, which can trigger flare-ups. Excessive showering causes dry skin and can increase scratching. This brings on infection. The symptoms need to be maintained before a snowball effect occurs.
However, excluding exercise is not a suitable solution to "cure" eczema because there are many positive benefits to exercise including stress reduction. Skin management and good hygiene are essential to use in conjunction with exercise to keep flare-ups to a minimum. If flare-ups are brought on by exercise then make changes in clothing options, exercise environments, and skin irritants.
For instance; manage eczema by wearing cool cotton clothing, or wicking materials to pull moisture away from skin. Change soaps that irritate the skin, and use a good moisturizer to help reduce the symptoms. If eczema is excessive a topical cream or ointment can be prescribed to reduce flare-ups; instead of excluding exercise for this chronic skin condition.
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