Lakshi is Living With and Treating Atopic Dermatitis

Lakshi is Living With and Treating Atopic Dermatitis


I’m Lakshi Aldredge, nurse practitioner
at the Portland VA, and as a young child I suffered from moderate–to–severe atopic
dermatitis. I think one of the driving factors for me
in deciding to go into the healthcare field was a little bit about my own personal journey
with atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions. I saw the suffering and I wanted to help people. And I remember really paying attention when
patients had skin issues because oftentimes I think in the healthcare field we don’t
get a lot of curriculum around skin conditions, as opposed to say, cardiology or oncology. For example, depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders, many times they wonder,
is it something I’m eating? Is it something that I’m doing? There’s also a great deal of self-doubt
and guilt associated with atopic dermatitis. And oftentimes those patients go from provider
to provider looking for, hoping for, praying for an answer and maybe something that can
fix it. With atopic dermatitis, we’re going to learn
more and more about the inflammatory chronic nature of this condition and the toll that
it takes on our patients’ lives. Not only when they’re young and in the height
of their disease perhaps, but later on in life. I think it’s very important for dermatology
providers to understand the emotional burden that skin diseases may have. Sure we’re very used to seeing patients
with the skin conditions and understand that they can be very itchy or painful, but it
really is the emotional toll that it takes on the patients and all of those other aspects
that we don’t see, in say, a 10 or 15-minute clinic visit. And oftentimes, so often, we minimize skin
conditions because we think that it’s just the skin, but it’s probably one of the most
important aspects of healthcare. You know, when we improve patients’ skin,
it’s a whole new outlook on their lives. They feel more confident, they don’t itch
or scratch, they are able to get better sleep, subsequently they’re able to go out and
participate in life. They can go to the gym and exercise. And so it impacts their entire life. So I always tell patients, don’t minimize
or think that this is just a skin condition.

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