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What is the epidemiology of atopic dermatitis?

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Studies on the epidemiology of atopic dermatitis indicate that the prevalence of this disease has increased over the past 30 years and currently affects 10 to 20 percent of children and 1 to 3 percent of adults, according to Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. This disease often develops in early infancy in affected patients, though about 70 percent of childhood patients outgrow the disorder by the time they reach adolescence.

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Incidences of atopic dermatitis have greatly increased since the '70s, according to Cleveland Clinic. The reason behind this rapid increase in the number of affected people is not clearly understood, though environmental factors may play a role.

About 45 percent of patients develop atopic dermatitis within the first six months, while 60 percent of patients develop the condition within the first year of life, according to Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. Around 85 percent of patients develop this condition by the time they are 5 years old. Prevalence of atopic dermatitis is slightly higher in female children, reports Cleveland Clinic.

Atopic dermatitis risk factors include movement from rural to urban environments, smaller family sizes and increased use of antibiotics, according to Cleveland Clinic. This has led to the hypothesis that a bit of infection in early childhood from older siblings and less hygienic practices might prevent atopic dermatitis.

People who suffer from atopic dermatitis are at a higher risk of developing allergic rhinitis and asthma, according to Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.

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