These facts and figures represent a summary of the most current information from published scientific literature regarding the prevalence of eczema and the burden people living with eczema face every day.
For additional information and key insights from NEA surveys of the patient and caregiver community, please visit the In Your Words survey summaries.
The Big Picture
People of all skin colors and ethnicities can be affected by eczema 1:
- White – 11%
- African American/black – 10%
- Asian or Pacific Islander – 13%
- Native American – 13%
Prevalence of Childhood & Adult Atopic Dermatitis (AD)
The prevalence of childhood AD has steadily increased from 8% to ~12% since 1997. 4
An estimated 16.5 million U.S. adults (7.3%) have AD that initially began at >2 years of age, with nearly 40% affected by moderate or severe disease. 9
Children born outside the U.S. have a 50% lower risk of developing AD that increases after living in the U.S. for 10 years. 15
Impacts of Eczema
Disease Burden & Mortality
A recent study of adults with moderate to severe AD found that 70.5% reported severe, unbearable itch in the past two weeks, 85.8% reported daily itch, and 62.8% reported itching at least 12 hours per day. 22
Sleep disturbance occurs in approximately 60% of children with AD, and parents of children with AD are four to eight times more likely to average less than six hours of sleep per night compared with caregivers of healthy children. 25 26
One in four adults with AD rate their health as “fair” or “poor”; more than 16% are “very” or “somewhat” dissatisfied with life. Negative ratings of health and life satisfaction increase with AD severity. 21
Hospitalization due to AD flares and associated infections is associated with an 8.3-year reduction in lifespan compared to the general population. 31 Outside of hospitalization, the risk for death due to any cause is slightly increased in people with AD. 32
Eczema has the highest effect on disability-associated life years for patients with skin diseases worldwide. 33
Children with AD often develop other atopic conditions in a typical sequence of food allergy, allergic rhinitis and asthma – known as the atopic march. Some of these conditions may persist for years, others may resolve with increasing age. 34 35
One in three children with AD will additionally develop asthma or allergic rhinitis. The risk of developing asthma increases with AD severity as more than 50% of children with severe AD will develop asthma. 35 36 37 38 39
Autoimmune and Cardiac Disease
AD in adults is associated with other serious chronic conditions that contribute to poor health including diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease, high blood pressure and heart disease. Risk for these conditions increases with AD severity. 45 46 47 48
For hospitalized adults with AD, the prevalence of serious infections including cutaneous, respiratory and systemic (heart, brain, GI, bone) infections is significantly higher compared to those without AD. 49
AD’s negative impact on mental health ranks greater than that for patients with heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. 21
Childhood AD has a significant impact on the emotional and social well-being of parents and caregivers. 64
Half of adults with moderate to severe AD indicate that AD significantly limits their lifestyle; nearly 35% of adults with mild AD also experience some lifestyle limitations. 21
More than one-third of people with AD say they “often” or “always” feel angry or embarrassed by their appearance due to the disease. 65
Parents and caregivers of children with AD report feeling embarrassed about their child’s appearance as well as frustration, helplessness, sadness and guilt due to their child’s disease. 68
Pre-adolescent girls with AD more frequently report impaired self-perceived health than their male counterparts. 70
Economic & Societal Impact
Adults with AD, regardless of disease severity, are more likely to take five or more days off work annually compared to their non-affected coworkers. 77
Nearly 5.9 million workdays annually are lost due to eczema. 77
Parents of children with AD experience lost work productivity that relates to their child’s AD severity. 14
U.S. adults with moderate to severe AD have nearly 16% less employment than those with mild AD. 78
- $371-$489 higher out-of-pocket costs per person each year, which is higher than the out-of-pocket costs for hypertension and diabetes. 77
- More outpatient doctor visits 28 80 81
- More visits to urgent/emergency care 82
- More hospitalizations 77 83
Cost of care considerations have been reported for AD patients: 77
- 17.6% delayed care due to concerns about cost
- 13.1% did not seek care due to concerns about cost
- 15.7% report an inability to cover the cost of prescriptions
Inpatient costs for AD care reach nearly $8.3 million/year for adults and more $3.3 million/year for children. 84
Total direct medical costs in 2013 averaged $11,660 per AD patient, which represents an incremental cost of $3,302 annually. Costs are higher in patients with more severe disease. 81
In 2013, the cost to the health system to treat atopic dermatitis patients was $314 million. 85
The annual economic burden of eczema, including direct medical costs, indirect costs from lost productivity, and quality of life impacts, is conservatively estimated at $5.3 billion. 86
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