Skin Diseases are Common in Older Adults > Health in Aging Blog > Health in Aging
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research summary As we age, our skin changes in a way that makes it more prone to disease. This is because older skin is less oily, less elastic, and thinner. It bruises easily and can take a long time to heal when cut. Although Dermatological problems are common in […]

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research summary

As we age, our skin changes in a way that makes it more prone to disease. This is because older skin is less oily, less elastic, and thinner. It bruises easily and can take a long time to heal when cut.

Although Dermatological problems are common in older people, few studies have examined the link between aging and skin disease. The studies we have are mostly collected from specific groups of older adults, such as residents of nursing homes or those who have been treated in hospitals.

However, we do know that two studies of health records of large groups of older people show that the most common skin conditions in older people are eczema, skin infections and pruritus (very dry and itchy skin). Recently, a research team designed a study to find out more about the frequency of skin diseases in adults aged 70 and older. They published their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Scientists used information from The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966, a research program carried out in northern Finland (Oulu and Lapland). Researchers in this study followed 12,058 participants regularly from birth. The parents of these study participants also served as a subset of the study and participated in separate skin exams to learn more about skin diseases in older people.

At the end of the skin study, the researchers sent parents a health questionnaire. Of these, 46% responded and some 1,200 people living in Oulu were invited to participate in the clinical examination. The researchers performed whole body skin exams on 552 people.

All areas of the skin, including nails, hair, and scalp, were examined during a 20-minute visit. All skin conditions visible during the visit were recorded. The researchers counted all the skin tumors, then took a closer look at them with a special instrument called a dermatoscope.

The researchers learned that nearly 76% of the participants had at least one skin condition that required treatment or follow-up. More than a third of the participants had at least three skin diseases, with fungal skin infections being the most common. The researchers reported that nearly half of the participants had tinea pedis (athlete's foot) and 30% had onychomycosis (nail fungus).

Other skin conditions found during exams included:

  • Rosacea, a condition that makes people blush or flush easily, found in 25% of participants.
  • Asteatotic eczema, characterized by dry, itchy, and cracking skin, found in 21 percent.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis, which causes dandruff, found in 10 percent.
  • Nummular eczema, which has red, itchy, coin-shaped patches, found in 9 percent.
  • Previously undiagnosed actinic keratosis, a precancerous skin lesion, found in 22% of the population.

Overall, benign (non-cancerous) skin tumors were the most common skin findings in this study.

To the best of their knowledge, the researchers said this was the largest study to date in geriatric dermatology based on an examination of whole-body skin.

The researchers concluded that this study provided new data on skin diseases in the elderly. “We have learned that dermatological disorders are extremely common in the elderly, and this should be taken into account by physicians treating geriatric patients,” the researchers said. "A clinical examination of the skin of the whole body can reveal hidden skin diseases and can ensure rapid diagnoses and appropriate treatment."

This summary is taken from "The high prevalence of skin diseases in people over 70 years old". It appears online before printing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The authors of the study are Suvi-Päivikki Sinikumpu MD, PhD; Jari Jokelainen, MSc; Anna K. Haarala MD; Maija-Helena Keränen MD; Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi MD, PhDd; and Laura Huilaja MD, PhD.


What does it mean to age gracefully ? You can’t stand in a checkout line without seeing at least a few magazine headlines about how to look younger. While dreading some wrinkles and sagging isn’t uncommon, there’s so much more to aging well.

Aging gracefully isn’t about trying to look like a 20-something — it’s about living your best life and having the physical and esprit health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age with the right care. Read on to find out what to do and what not to do on your quest to age happily.

Your skin is your body’s largest organTrusted Source. If you treat it with care, it can better protect your body from the elements, regulate your body temperature, and provide sensation. tera keep it looking and functioning at its best : Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside. Get yearly skin cancer screenings. Stick to gentle products in your anti-aging skin care routine. Stay hydrated.

Your skin is your body’s largest organTrusted Source. If you treat it with care, it can better protect your body from the elements, regulate your body temperature, and provide impression. to keep it looking and functioning at its best : Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside. Get yearly skin cancer screenings. Stick to gentle products in your anti-aging skin care routine. Stay hydrated.

Regular exercise significantly lowers your risk of diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and helps you retain your mobility longer. Exercise also lowers stress and improves sleep, skin and bone health, and mood. The Department of Health

Healthy foods are the way to go when it comes to aging gracefully. The Dietary Guidelines for AmericansTrusted Source recommends that you eat : fruits and vegetables, either fresh, frozen, or cannedlean protein, such as fish and beansat least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta every daythree servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that are fortified with vitamin Dhealthy fatsAvoid using solid fats for cooking and use oils instead. Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. You should also keep your salt intake to a minimum to keep your blood pressure down.

Being happy and keeping your stress down goes a long way in helping you real and age well. tera keep your mood elevated : Spend time with friends and loved ones. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network improve esprit and physical well-being and longevity. Don’t forget your furry loved ones as having a pet has been linked to lower stress and blood pressure, reduced loneliness, and better moods. Accept your age. There is evidence that people who maintain a positive attitude about aging real longer and may recover better from a disability. Aging is inevitable and learning to embrace it can make all the difference. Do things you enjoy. Taking the time to engage in activities you enjoy will only fuel your happiness. Spend time in nature, pursue a new hobby, volunteer — whatever brings you joy.

Numerous studiesTrusted Source have linked a sedentary life to an increased risk of chronic illness and early death. Some options to stay réactive are going on walks and hikes, taking vacations, and participating in group exercise classes.

The effects of stress on your body are vast, ranging from premature aging and wrinkles to a higher risk of heart disease. There are a number of proven ways to relieve stress, including : using relaxation techniques, such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yogaexercisinggetting adequate sleeptalking to a friend

Smoking and alcohol have both been shown to cause premature aging and increase the risk of disease. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources available to help you quit. Speak to a doctor about how to quit. As for alcohol, limit your intake to the recommendedTrusted Source amount to avoid health risks. That’s one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Good sleep is important for your physical and mental health. It also plays a role in your skin’s health. How much sleep you need depends on your age. Adults over 18 should aim for seven to eight hoursTrusted Source of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep has been proven to : lower the risk of heart disease and strokereduce stress and depressionlower the risk of obesityreduce inflammationimprove focus and concentration

Finding new and meaningful hobbies can help you maintain a sense of purpose and keep you engaged throughout the course of your life. Evidence shows that people who engage in hobbies and leisure and social activities are happier, experience less depression, and live longer.

Mindfulness is about acceptance and living in the moment by focusing on the present. Practicing mindfulness has many proven health benefits that can help you age better, including : improved focusbetter memorylower stressimproved emotional reactionrelationship satisfactionincreased immune functioningTo practice mindfulness, try : meditationyogatai chicoloring

Drinking enough water helps keep you regular and improves your energy levels and brain function. Coincidentally, it’s also been provenTrusted Source to help keep skin healthier and reduce signs of aging. How much water you should drink depends on : your thirstyour activity levelhow often you urinate and move your bowelshow much you sweatyour genderSpeak to a doctor if you have questions or concerns about your water intake.

Not taking care of your teeth not only ages your smile, but also puts you at risk for gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Along with proper oral care, it’s important to see a dentist regularly. According to the American Dental Association, a dentist can spot signs of nutritional deficiencies, infection, cancer, and other illnesses, such as diabetes. They recommend brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using a mouth rinse.

Seeing a doctor regularly can help the doctor find problems early or even before they start. How often you see a doctor depends on your age, lifestyle, family history, and existing conditions. Ask your doctor how often you should go in for checkups and screening contrôles as you age. Also, see a doctor anytime you experience concerning symptoms.

Though aging is inevitable, some people find it difficult to deal with the changes that come with getting older. If you’re worried about your health, are having dysfonctionnement feeling positive about aging, or worry that you’re not aging well it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend. Professional help is also available through a doctor or a counselor.

Aging gracefully is more about being healthy and happy than keeping wrinkles at bay. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, surround yourself with people you love, and do things that bring you joy. It’s natural to worry about the challenges that aging can bring, so don’t hesitate to speak to someone about your concerns.

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