Author(s): Holm EA, Esmann S, Jemec GB
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The handicap caused by skin diseases is insufficiently described in comparison to other types of diseases (e.g. rheumatological diseases). Estimates of disease handicap provide important data for overall disease assessment, resource planning and background data for planning possible preventive intervention studies. OBJECTIVE: Primarily to describe the degree of handicap caused by atopic dermatitis (AD) in relation to the choice of education and occupation. Secondarily to describe the frequency of social pensions awarded due to AD in Denmark and the development of pensions awarded over time. METHODS: A descriptive study based on questionnaires gathered from members of the Danish Association of Atopic Eczema. Information was obtained on age, disease duration, severity, localization of eczema and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). Additional data about sick days due to eczema and patients' choice of education or employment were obtained from the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs. RESULTS: Study population 112 (24 males and 88 females), aged 15 years and older, self-assessed morbidity was mild (1/3), moderate (1/2) or severe (approximately 1/5). Mean DLQI score was 9.67. Mean loss of working days due to AD was 5.8 days/6 months (95\% CI: 0.36-11.30). The mean total loss of working days due to eczema alone was 148\% of the national average, and 38\% of the respondents had abstained from a specific education or a job due to AD. Since 1970, the average number of pension due to AD awarded in Denmark has grown from 4.2 per year for 1970-1976 to 18.0 per year for 1999-2002. CONCLUSION: Even mild to moderate AD causes handicap as seen from increased sick leave and the number of awarded early retirement pensions. There are therefore both individual as well as societal consequences of AD.
This article was published in J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol
and referenced in Primary Healthcare: Open Access