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How does eczema affect the body?

Eczema affects your skin. The disease usually causes red, inflamed patches that are accompanied by intense itching. This reaction has been linked to a malfunction in the body's immune system. People with eczema have lower levels of a particular cytokine (a protein), which helps their immune system function properly. They also have higher levels of a different cytokine protein that prompts allergic reactions. This imbalance of cytokines is most likely to blame for confusing the immune system and causing it to create the inflammation.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Symptoms of eczema can include flaky skin, red skin, scaly  skin, and skin that feels itchy and/or painful. If the skin becomes dry enough it can even crack and bleed. Some people develop blisters that weep and ooze. Chronic scratching can, over time, lead to thickening of the skin. Some types of eczema make the skin more susceptible to infection.

Talk with your doctor about your eczema and how to treat it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.