The prevalence of skin disease among the elderly in different clinical environments

Smith, Derek R., and Leggat, Peter A. (2005) The prevalence of skin disease among the elderly in different clinical environments. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 24 (2). pp. 71-76.

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Abstract

Although skin disease is a common and inevitable consequence of ageing, relatively few epidemiological studies have focused on the elderly demographic. Those that do exist are often difficult to find, while matching studies from numerous countries can easily become a daunting task for the busy clinician. Therefore, we undertook a comprehensive literature search for any manuscripts targeting elderly skin disease published in peer-reviewed medical journals over the past 60 years. A total of 61 reports from 12 countries were eventually selected for inclusion. Among the community-dwelling elderly, seborrheic keratosis, xerosis and Campbell de Morgan spots were shown to have the highest prevalence rates, affecting 88%, 85% and 75% respectively. These diseases also affected nursing home residents (seborrheic keratosis 85% and xerosis 77%), as did tinea unguium at 57%. Prevalence rates within the dermatology clinic were different, however, with none exceeding 25%. By subcategory, the most frequently presented conditions were actinic keratosis (25%), fungal infections (17%) and xerosis (14%). Overall, our review has shown that skin disease is very common among the elderly and its prevalence varies widely depending on the patients' clinical environment. Considerable work remains to be undertaken regarding skin disease risk factors. With the projected exponential ageing of almost all industrialised societies throughout the 21st century, a greater commitment should now be directed towards this burgeoning subdiscipline of clinical medicine.

Item ID: 5852
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: dermatology; elderly; epidemiology; review; skin diseases
ISSN: 1741-6612
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2009 00:57
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 51%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 49%
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