“Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as part of a paid program. All opinions are my own.”
I’m not sure how many of you have ever dealt with a skin disease, but for me, it can be debilitating. People may not think that a skin disease would be as big of a deal as other diseases that can happen in life, but for me, it is. For many years I have dealt with something known as atopic dermatitis. If you’re not familiar with atopic dermatitis, it is a chronic form of eczema.¹ Here are some things you may not know about someone who’s living with atopic dermatitis. Symptoms can include red rashes, intense itch, dryness, cracking, crusting and oozing of the skin, and they can occur on any part of the body.¹
Dealing with Flare-Ups
For me, atopic dermatitis can be good for a while and then it flares up for no reason. In my personal experience, when my skin is experiencing a flare-up, it causes a red rash with cracking and irritation. My skin is sensitive normally, but during a flare-up, it feels much worse. Skin is a sensitive part of our bodies, and when I am constantly itching and experiencing sores, even my skin touching my sheets can be uncomfortable. It can even lead to more itching, which in turn keeps me awake all night. The stress of my sleep constantly being disrupted by the constant itching and flare-ups of my atopic dermatitis can lead to even more flare-ups. It’s a vicious cycle. Sometimes it seems never ending! On top of that, because I’m tired from not getting sleep, it can really impact me during the day, making it hard to focus.
Stress and Embarrassment from Atopic Dermatitis
I have to admit that living with atopic dermatitis can be stressful at times. In addition to my physical symptoms, I also experience embarrassment. I have avoided different situations because I’m embarrassed by my skin disease and how my skin looks during a flare-up. It's incredibly difficult for me when I’m out with friends having a really good time, and all of a sudden I start itching my skin because of my atopic dermatitis. When I look down, I see the all too familiar rash and I get anxious that others are looking at it and judging me, or thinking that something is wrong with me. It's honestly embarrassing for me to be around other people when I keep itching and have rashes, so much so that sometimes I’d rather just be alone.
Learn more about Understand AD
Based on my personal experience dealing with the disease, I’m so happy to get the word out about how difficult atopic dermatitis can be. That’s why I am in love with the Understand AD campaign, which is focused on educating people about moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and raising awareness about the physical and quality of life impact of the disease. Did you know that an estimated 1.6 million adults in the United States are living with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis?²
Understand AD also features celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner (Food Network, Bravo’s Top Chef) as the spokesperson for the campaign. She has lived with the disease for more than 20 years. Elizabeth joined the Understand AD campaign because she wants to share her experience of living with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in order to help people understand what a life-impacting disease it can be. Atopic dermatitis has impacted so many parts of her life, and she wants to help create a community for people who may feel isolated and alone.
I encourage you to visit www.UnderstandAD.com to learn more about Elizabeth’s experience, hear from other people living with the disease, learn more about moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis and get connected with advocates such as the National Eczema Association and Dermatology Nurses' Association. Understand AD is a Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron program in collaboration with the National Eczema Association and the Dermatology Nurses’ Association.
I received compensation to write this post. Regardless, all opinions expressed are still 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, Stephanie Rose Disclosure.
1 http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/atopic-dermatitis#risk Accessed: September 23, 2016.
2 Adelphi Final Report, data on file
US-ILF-13554 | US.DUP.16.10.045