AD is a chronic, inflammatory disease with symptoms often appearing as a rash on the skin. Moderate-to-severe AD is characterized by rashes that can potentially cover much of the body; it can include intense, persistent itching, skin lesions, skin dryness, cracking, redness, crusting and oozing. Itch is one of the most burdensome symptoms for people with the disease and can be debilitating. There are approximately 400,000 adolescents in the U.S. with uncontrolled, moderate-to-severe AD.
17-year-old Isaiah has been living with severe AD since he was two years old. The intense, persisting itch on his skin made it difficult for him to concentrate in class, and frequent hospital trips or flare ups meant he missed many days of school. “I had to miss out on a lot of sports and really wanted to play baseball” explains Isaiah, because sweat is a trigger for skin flare-ups that would make being active, especially running, difficult and even painful. “Most kids would be outside playing baseball, football, soccer – but I would be in the hospital or inside with wet wraps on my skin, and at times, it got hard.”
Now, Isaiah and his family are sharing their story on Understand AD, a disease awareness program focused on educating people about uncontrolled moderate-to-severe AD. The program brings together a team of experts – The Understand AD Squad – a dermatologist, psychotherapist and adult patient peer with the condition, to help Isaiah and his parents as they prepare to transition Isaiah from high school to college all while managing his severe AD. They allowed their experience to be taped, and are pleased to share their experience with others, in the hopes of helping other families like theirs navigate the realities surrounding this issue.