The Eczema – Heart Disease Connection
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation within the skin, which usually leads to rough and dry patches that then result in itching and bleeding. While this may seem completely unrelated to the heart, research has shown that eczema can have a severely detrimental effect on heart health, with heart disease being one of its side effects.
While you may only notice the redness in your skin that eczema causes, eczema is an autoimmune disease, which means that this inflammation is actually occurring throughout your body. In some cases, the blood vessels in the body end up becoming inflamed, which can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis. This is when a fatty substance builds up within artery walls, which slows the rate at which blood flows to the heart, increasing the risk of heart disease. For those that end up scratching any itchy spots, this can irritate the skin quite a bit and lead to an infection. Once this happens, the body emits certain substances that are able to fight this inflammation, but the regular release of these substances is also possibly linked to heart disease.
Stress and Sleep Deprivation
Due to the symptoms of eczema, this condition can often cause severe amounts of stress, as well as sleepless nights. Both of these have been known to contribute to heart problems, making it important to gain control of these side effects.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Studies carried out in 2010 and 2012 on those with eczema brought about some surprising results. The research showed that those who had eczema were much more likely to suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure than those who do not have the condition. In addition to this, they were also much more likely to be severely obese, all of which are significant contributing factors to heart disease.
In order to cope with the frustrating side effects of eczema, studies have shown that a large number of those with the condition end up turning to a few unhealthy lifestyle habits. The stress of eczema will often lead to increased drinking and smoking habits, which, as is common knowledge, is extremely detrimental to the heart.
Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease
While all of the studies carried out so far show quite a significant connection between eczema and heart disease, there are still many steps that you can take to reduce your risk for heart disease. Firstly, if you have developed any unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or smoking, these need to be stopped immediately, and you should also make the effort to be doing at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Stress is a common eczema side effect, so you need to work out how to manage this well, whether through physical activity or breathing exercises. Your diet can also have quite the impact, not only on your heart but also your eczema, so try to cut out the unhealthy fats, sugars and salt, and opt for whole grains instead, with plenty of sources of skin and heart-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
While the many different ways in which eczema can lead to heart disease may seem frightening, it will not take much to get these under control. From maintaining a few healthy lifestyle habits to improving your diet, these steps will ensure that you significantly lower your risk of heart disease.