What is it Diathesis ?

Diathesis is a predisposition of the body to certain metabolic disorders, accompanied by pathological reactions such as skin allergies or other diseases. It mainly affects infants, whose immune systems are actively developing, but sometimes adults also experience rashes, itching, and other unpleasant symptoms. Modern medicine considers diathesis in adults not so much as an independent disease but as a constitutional feature that determines the body’s reactivity. It is determined by age, hereditary factors, environment, and other individual aspects.
The term “diathesis” began to be used in the early 20th century to denote a hereditary predisposition to certain infectious, allergic, and other pathologies. Today, specialists understand this term as a temporary inadequate response of the body to external or internal irritants. It is believed that diathesis in adults, like in children, under unfavorable conditions, can lead to the development of chronic diseases, including eczema, bronchial asthma, pollinosis, convulsive syndrome, and others.
The treatment of this condition is carried out by:

Classification of diatheses
There are about 20 varieties of diathesis, but in practice, specialists mainly distinguish three forms:

  • Exudative-catarrhal, characterized by susceptibility to various types of acute infectious diseases, accompanied by skin allergic reactions;
  • Lymphatic-hypoplastic (lymphatic), caused by insufficient function of the thymus gland, leading to disorders of the lymphatic system;
  • Nervous-articular, characterized by increased nervous excitability, leading to joint pains, speech problems, fears, increased anxiety.
    Among other things, there are uric acid and salt forms, which are caused by an imbalance of uric acid and salts in the urine, and hemorrhagic diathesis – it is associated with disorders in the blood clotting system.

Symptoms of diathesis in adults
Diathesis in adults looks similar to that in children – symptoms may resemble acute allergic reactions, dermatosis, chronic inflammatory diseases, or disorders of water-salt metabolism. Symptoms of the exudative-catarrhal form include:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis, which without treatment can transform into chronic seborrheic eczema;
  • Redness and swelling of the skin;
  • Skin peeling;
  • Skin itching;
  • Diaper rash in skin folds;
  • Appearance of small blisters filled with cloudy or clear fluid on the skin.
    Signs of diathesis in adults can appear on any part of the body: on the cheeks or entire face, on the hands and neck, in the groin area, on the hairy part of the head, etc. It is noted that patients with the exudative-catarrhal form are most predisposed to chronic diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract: pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia. Some people with this type of diathesis often have recurrent acute respiratory viral infections and colds.
    The lymphatic-hypoplastic form is characterized by the following symptoms:
  • Swelling of lymph nodes;
  • Paleness of the skin;
  • Hypertrophy of the tonsils, adenoiditis;
  • Splenomegaly (enlarged spleen);
  • Hepatomegaly (enlarged liver).
    Adult patients with this type of diathesis are prone to acute allergic reactions, often suffer from respiratory infections, and are predisposed to liver and kidney pathologies.
    Signs of the nervous-articular form include:
  • Frequent headaches and joint pains;
  • Nocturnal enuresis;
  • Anxiety, restlessness;
  • Nightmares and fears;
  • Sleep disturbances;
  • Emotional excitability;
  • Intestinal and renal colic;
  • Arterial hypertension.
    Patients with nervous-articular diathesis often have excessive body weight, kidney or bladder stones, and are at risk of developing kidney pathologies, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerotic vascular lesions, gallstone disease, gout, and other diseases.

Causes of diathesis development

At the core of the mechanism of diathesis development of any form lies a disturbance in the regulation of metabolic processes, leading to the emergence of excessive or improper reactions to common irritants. Risk factors include:

  • Smoking, alcohol consumption;
  • Congenital diseases of the central nervous system;
  • Chronic infectious and inflammatory diseases;
  • Excessive body weight;
  • Working in hazardous industries;
  • Systematic exposure to cold;
  • Endocrine system pathologies;
  • Allergic diseases;
  • Severe emotional stress, stress;
  • Chronic fatigue;
  • Non-compliance with personal hygiene;
  • Excessive consumption of purine-rich foods (meat, chocolate, salty fish, pâtés).
    The risk of developing signs of diathesis is higher in people leading an unhealthy lifestyle, sleeping poorly, working a lot, experiencing daily physical overload, frequently coming into contact with harmful chemicals, and so on.


When diathesis is suspected, differential diagnosis is performed, the purpose of which is to exclude possible acute and chronic diseases with similar symptoms. Doctors collect medical history, interview the patient about complaints, clinical manifestations, the timing of their onset, etc. Then a complex of laboratory tests is prescribed, which may include:

  • Complete blood count, urine analysis;
  • Biochemical blood analysis;
  • Tests to determine the level of glucose, cholesterol, uric acid, and other indicators in the blood and urine;
  • Immunological and allergological tests of various types;
  • Stool examination;
  • Skin tests.
    Additionally, a series of instrumental examinations are conducted, including ultrasound of the liver, kidneys, spleen, heart, lymph nodes, X-rays, electrocardiography, and other procedures. They help to identify characteristic changes in internal organs (enlargement of the liver, spleen, etc.) typical for certain forms of diathesis, confirm the presence of systemic diseases, or refute them.

Treatment of Diathesis

The modern approach involves a simultaneous combination of non-pharmacological measures and pharmaceutical agents. It is very important to identify irritants to which the body reacts excessively and minimize contact with them. Correction of the daily regimen, work, and rest is carried out, a scheme of rational, balanced nutrition is selected. Patients are recommended to avoid stress, overcooling, and overheating, to regulate physical and mental stress.
Drug treatment of diathesis in adults includes the use of local preparations in the form of gels, ointments, which prevent inflammation, have a drying or moisturizing effect (as indicated), and protect the skin from additional damage. Sedatives, cholagogues may be prescribed for the nervous-articular form, and glucocorticoids may be used in case of adrenal insufficiency.
Among other things, adults with diathesis are recommended tempering procedures, therapeutic exercises, massage, general ultraviolet irradiation, and other physiotherapeutic procedures. They help to increase the body’s resistance to infections and generally have a healing effect.

Prevention of Diathesis in Adults
Since diathesis is a constitutional feature, there are no specific preventive measures. It is recommended to adhere to a healthy lifestyle from childhood, timely treat acute illnesses under the supervision of doctors, and give up harmful habits. Among other things, it is desirable to:

  • undergo timely vaccination according to the schedule;
  • regularly walk outdoors;
  • avoid a sedentary lifestyle;
  • control body weight;
  • properly care for the skin;
  • avoid overcooling.
    In the presence of any chronic or congenital pathologies, it is necessary to be constantly observed by a specialized specialist and under no circumstances engage in self-medication.