• Dhiren Mahiban

Study finds high prevalence of skin diseases in older adults


Research conducted at the University Hospital of Oulu in Finland on the skin examination data of 552 adults found 80% had at least one skin condition that required treatment.

The study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (Aug. 4, 2020), discovered the most common diseases among the study participants were fungal skin infections, rosacea, actinic keratosis and eczema.

The study’s authors also found that 39.1% of participants had three or more simultaneous skin diseases.

Investigators noted skin diseases were more common in males than in females, and there were weak associations between different skin diseases and socioeconomic status (SES) and living status, such as living alone or with a spouse or other family member.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of Finnish adults aged 70 to 93 years as part of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study to determine the prevalence of skin diseases in adults aged 70 and older. Additionally, the researchers studied the association between cutaneous diseases and SES, sex and living status in the older population.

A full-body skin examination was performed by a dermatologist. The associations between skin diseases and SES, sex and living status were analyzed.

Tinea pedis (48.6%) was the most common skin disease discovered while researchers also found instances of onychomycosis (29.9%), rosacea (25.6%), actinic keratosis (22.3%) and asteatotic eczema (20.8%) among the participants.

The investigators found some associations between skin diseases and SES and living status.

The study’s authors concluded a full-body clinical skin examination is important because it reveals important diagnoses.

"This research emphasizes the importance of whole body skin evaluations in older patients, as skin diseases are common in this age group," said Dr. Suvi-Päivikki Sinikumpu, the study’s lead author, in a press release. "A whole body skin examination may reveal hidden skin symptoms and ensures timely diagnoses and appropriate treatment.”

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