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The Eczema and Broken Bone ConnectionNovember 14, 2014
People with eczema, a skin condition marked by itching, irritation and rashes, have another problem to add to the list: A new study suggests that they are more likely to suffer broken bones and other joint-and-bone injuries.
Researchers studied a nationally representative sample of 34,500 adults ages 18 to 85, of whom about 7 percent had eczema.
After controlling for age, sex, income, education, asthma, hay fever, food allergies and other factors, they found that people with eczema were about 44 percent more likely to have had any injury, and 67 percent more likely to have a bone or joint injury serious enough to limit physical activity, than those without the ailment.
Other skin problems were not associated with an increased risk. The study appeared in JAMA Dermatology.
The senior author, Dr. Jonathan I. Silverberg, an assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern, said that “fatigue and sleep deprivation, the use of sedating medicines like antihistamines” could raise the risk of falls and “are a setup for accidental injury.”
Moreover, the authors write, chronic inflammation is associated with bone loss and increased fracture risk. Also, steroid medications, often used for eczema, can weaken bones.
“Eczema is not skin deep,” Dr. Silverberg said. “Its chronic effects go well beyond the skin.”