4 Common Kids’ Disorders

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a common disorder in kids.

The word, eczema, comes from the Greek, for ‘to boil, or flow out.’ The expression is, of course, used for a group of skin conditions that show a pattern — with redness, itching, serum-filled blisters, crusting and scaling.

Atopic eczema is possibly the best known type, followed by contact eczema.

  • The rash often starts on the face with vesicles and discharge. The distribution is often vague, although it may sometimes spare the napkin area
  • As the child grows, the eczema may affect the knees, elbows, wrists and ankles, while the skin becomes increasingly thickened, dry and excoriated. This is called ‘lichenification,’ or leathery exterior.

Studies suggest that 65-70 per cent of eczema cases present before the age of six months. This is reported to rise to 85-90 per cent before age five. Atopic eczema is just as much evidenced to affect three per cent of infants. It has a tendency to stay put for several years.

Contact eczema, or contact dermatitis, is the name given to certain types of eczema that occur as a result of contact with irritants, or allergens, in the environment.

There are three types of eczema that affect the nappy area — the most common being irritant eczema [nappy rash]. It affects nearly all babies to some extent. The trigger is urine and faeces. They are a real annoyance to the skin when left in contact for long periods.

Atopic eczema seldom affects the nappy area. It most often appears in the skin folds — in front of the elbows, or behind the knees.

Seborrhoeic eczema does not itch. It is often associated with greasy yellow scales on the scalp [‘cradle cap’].

Eczema is a common problem at the clinic — it accounts for 15 per cent of medical consultations. Its effects are not merely physical. It has psychological underpinnings — not just with the affected individual, but also family, friends and colleagues.

  • Eczema in adults can impact work, home and social life; for children, their school life
  • It can affect one’s career. It can limit one’s career choice. It can also lead to poor performance in school, or at the job interview
  • Eczema can affect one’s self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Eczema can lead to depression
  • It can affect one from ‘cultivating’ relationships — one may feel awkward seeing, or touching their partner’s body
  • Eczema can cause repulsion among members of the family, also outside of one’s close circle.

Research at the University of Bristol, UK, in association with 22 other studies from across the world, has unravelled three new gene variants associated with eczema.

Research also suggests that there are certain small nerve fibres in the skin that transmit ‘itch’ signals to the spinal cord and, thereafter, to the brain. It is likely that such nerve fibres and chemical signals [neurotransmitters], they contain, may be ‘flawed’ in eczema. This may, in turn, be  the cause for itching too.

ADHD

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] is a common behavioural problem. It affects an estimated 8-10 per cent of school-age children. Boys are about three times more likely than girls to be affected.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Inability to maintain focus — in work, or play, activities at school and home
  • Tends to misplace, or lose, things needed for activities at school and home
  • Looks like being not attentive
  • Can’t give close attention to details
  • Disorganised; has trouble planning ahead and executing tasks
  • Forgets things quite easily; gets distracted; loses track of things.

Research suggests that individuals with ADHD do not produce enough chemicals in key areas in the brain that are in charge of organising our thoughts and behaviour. In such a scenario, our brains don’t work just as well as they do in non-ADHD individuals. Studies also show that ADHD is more common in children who have close relatives with the disorder. Statistics suggests that boys are often more affected than girls.

Sleep Apnoea

Some children suffer from a condition called sleep apnoea, which causes snoring. Sleep apnoea is a condition with irregular breathing patterns during sleep. It leads to lower blood levels of oxygen. The most common cause of sleep apnoea is enlarged tonsils and adenoiditis; they may block the airways — during sleep — partly.

Bedwetting

Nearly 99 per cent of normal, healthy children attain day-time bladder control by age five. However, about 20 per cent of boys and about 10 per cent of girls may still have nocturnal [night-time] incontinence at age 7.

Statistics suggests that 1 per cent of boys and 0.5 per cent of girls continue to wet their bed up to age 18.

Millions of kids and teenagers from every part of the world wet the bed every single night. Most kids don’t tell their friends, and others, so it’s easy to feel that only you are wetting your bed. But, you are not alone.

The medical name for bedwetting, or sleep wetting, is nocturnal [night-time] enuresis [en-yoo-ree-sus]. Enuresis runs in families. This means that if you urinate, or pee, while you are asleep, there’s a good chance that a close relative also did it when they were kids. Or, you may have inherited your mom’s long nose and, perhaps, bedwetting too. There may be an emotional, or physiological, underpinning for the problem, no less.

The most important thing to remember is that no one wets the bed on purpose. It doesn’t mean that your child is lethargic. It’s something they can’t help controlling, or managing.

Ayurveda

Every child deserves a healthy life. Healthy children of today celebrate a healthy society of tomorrow. Ayurveda texts on childcare deal with a host of ailments in children, along with ways to boosting immunity, among other essentials, in children. The immune system acts as a shield for infections that make children ill. Ayurveda emphasises that instead of merely treating the symptoms, after the onset of the disease, or illness, it is important to preventing them in the first place

Kaumarbhritya is a vital element of Ayurveda texts; it provides detailed knowledge and also treatment protocols in childcare — from conception to adolescence.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy considers each child as being different from another child. What causes a problem in one child may not cause it in another.

Homeopathy assesses each child and treats them individually, based on their unique, characteristic symptoms.

New research suggests that most of the behavioural disorders in children are metabolic in nature, they are not mental disorders. To succeed one must first aim to correct a child’s metabolism.

Homeopathy helps to improve a child’s behaviour and learning ability by giving a suitable remedy that improves bowel function; this, in turn, improves brain function.

Homeopathy assesses the cause of snoring, mouth breathing and other behavioural issues. It gives select remedies based on a child’s unique, particular symptoms. Following homeopathic treatment, many children are able to avoid surgery — i.e., not have their tonsils and adenoids removed.

A study on a group of eczema patients, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, reported that homeopathy was as effective as standard conventional treatments in the short-term and more effective than them in the long-term.

A six-year study of patient outcomes at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, UK, also found that 82 per cent of eczema patients, under age 16, felt ‘better’ or ‘much better’ with homeopathic treatment.

Self-Help

  • Introduce health eating and living habits in your children
  • Provide positive aspirations and role models
  • Encourage them to learn organisational skills and help them to appreciate the value of personal effort
  • Don’t hurt their self-esteem; have patience
  • Consult and also follow-up with your kid’s physician — regularly.
Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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