Northwestern Medicine Launches Multidisciplinary Center to Treat Eczema and its Related Issues, Including Sleep Disorders

Northwestern Medicine
Dermatology July 17, 2014

Northwestern Medicine® has opened a new multidisciplinary care center for adolescents and adults with eczema, the Northwestern Multidisciplinary Center for Eczema. Eczema is a life-altering chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that is a major health burden for millions of adults in America. Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is characterized by dry skin, rash, inflammation, skin sensitivity and, importantly, often severe itch. Many individuals with eczema also have sleep disorders, asthma, hay fever and other allergies, and even psychological issues like depression, and the eczema itself can exacerbate these associated medical problems.

“Eczema is not just skin deep,” said Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, Northwestern Medicine dermatologist and director of the Northwestern Multidisciplinary Center for Eczema. “There are a number of other medical and mental health conditions that are related to eczema. The classic situation for many with eczema is that they are chronically itchy and sleep deprived due to their eczema and allergies. The result is that their professional lives and personal relationships begin to suffer.”

The new Northwestern Multidisciplinary Center for Eczema was developed to address all of these concerns in one place with a multidisciplinary team comprised of dermatologists, allergists, neurologists, sleep specialists and specialized nurses. This multidisciplinary approach allows patients to receive personalized care to meet their individual needs.

“Treatment for moderate to severe eczema requires an approach that goes beyond just treatment with topical steroids. We need to recognize triggers and associated medical problems – and, through collaboratively working with our multidisciplinary team, provide a personalized, more comprehensive treatment plan,” added Amy S. Paller, MD, MS, chair of dermatology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and a member of the new Northwestern Multidisciplinary Center for Eczema.

Patients who come to the Center are first seen by a dermatologist and then take an evidence-based questionnaire to help detect if they have additional conditions such as asthma, allergies and sleep disturbances. The questionnaire can uncover an additional health concern related to the eczema which may not even be recognized by the patient.

“Even when a patient’s eczema is completely clear, sleep disorders and can persist if no therapy is used to combat the problem,” said Hrayr P. Attarian, MD, Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, who is also member of the Northwestern Multidisciplinary Center for Eczema. “This is most likely caused by having had regularly disturbed sleep for a very long time due to itch caused by the eczema when it was active.”

Learn more about the Northwestern Multidisciplinary Center for Eczema or schedule an appointment, call 312.695.8106.
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