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A Patient’s Disease Severity Experience With Supportive Therapies and Dietary Changes


Audrey Dean discusses with her dermatologist, Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD, how supportive therapies and dietary changes have altered her disease severity. Jennifer Holman goes on to highlight a wholistic approach to treatment, and how treating atopic dermatitis can have a multidisciplinary approach.


Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD: Did you discover anything else that was going on with your atopic dermatitis [AD] as we’ve gone through this? Or [are there] any more natural or alternative therapies that you tried, such as dietary changes…that you noticed made a difference for you?

Audrey Dean:I did try to go to a holistic doctor once; it was out in Canada, and they did this light therapy once or twice. I wasn’t able to go enough to really see much of a difference. I did try to stay away from inflammatory foods, [such as] citrus, dairy, [and] eggs…and it did kind of help. I haven’t been 100%, though, but it did help a little when I was doing it.

Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD: You live in Texas; it’s like the land of barbecue. You can’t stay away from inflammatory [foods] here in Texas.

Audrey Dean: I love my cheese. I can’t stay away from that.

Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD: Hey, you’re speaking my language on that one. But did any of those dietary changes or holistic things make a difference for you?

Audrey Dean: A little bit [but] not enough. They might work better for [others] than they [did for] me. If I tried it again, I [would] try to be more diligent with it and see [whether] that has a better result than last time.

Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD: [Was] there anything that you found outside what we were doing in the office that [was] making the process worse?

Audrey Dean: Honestly, no. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I can’t really think of any allergen stuff that I was sensitive to. I haven’t really had a bunch of those sensitivities before. I didn’t really notice any more popping up while I was going through it, basically.

Jennifer Holman, MD, FAAD: When things aren’t under control, sometimes it’s hard to know what’s making it better and what’s making it worse. You just know that things are out of control and that you have a systemic disease process that needs to be treated. But it brings up the idea that treating [AD] is often a multidisciplinary thing. It’s important that, as physicians, if we’re identifying mental health disorders—I’m not trying to treat that—but having [that] support, counseling, therapy, or seeing a mental health provider [is] important. If we’re seeing other comorbidities, when you’ve got a systemic inflammatory condition, it’s important that we’re identifying other risks that are associated with that. I always tell [patients that] if 1 thing is out of whack, you’re 1 person. So, [individuals] who are carrying extra weight, who have a really unhealthy diet, who are not exercising—is doing all [these] things going to fix your [AD]? No. But if we can decrease your systemic inflammation and get you on a healthy lifestyle, sometimes those things may make other disease processes easier to treat. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to have to treat them. It just means that if you are healthier overall, sometimes these things are easier to treat. I’m all about holistic therapies. I’m not trained in holistic medicine, so it’s hard to speak to some of them. There’s certainly less evidence-based clinical trials and holistic medicine. But again, if something helps the patient and it’s not harmful to them, I certainly don’t ever want to steer them away from things that aren’t making their disease process worse and actually may be helping them from a mental or physical standpoint.

Transcript was AI-generated and edited for clarity.

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