As people age, their risk of developing skin-related disorders increases. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, these ailments can not only be painful and irritating, but may also affect the health and wellbeing of seniors. This piece takes a closer look at the top three reasons why seniors should see a dermatologist.
A dermatologist will thoroughly check the skin for changes,
which may indicate skin cancer.
While dry skin can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, it can also be a sign of aging. After all, aging skin is particularly vulnerable to dryness.
If your aging loved one's skin appears scaly, flaky, rough, or cracked, this indicates dry skin, also called "xerosis." There are several age-related causes for dry skin in seniors, including a slowdown in skin cell regeneration, a thinner epidermal layer, and the inability to retain moisture.
While age-related dry skin is not in itself a threat, it can lead to itching -- a significant quality of life issue for seniors. If your aging loved one is stuck in an itching/scratching cycle, a dermatologist can help patients and caregivers learn best practices for keeping skin hydrated. A physician can also recommend over-the-counter or prescription meds to help reverse this issue.
2. Skin Cancer Prevention, Detection and Treatment
As many as 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 develop at least one skin cancer over the course of their lives. While older Caucasian men are at particular risk, everyone is vulnerable to this deadly disease.
A dermatologist will thoroughly examine your aging loved one looking for new moles, other growths or skin changes which may indicate skin cancer. Regular visits are particularly useful as they offer benchmarking opportunities.
3. Identify Other Dermatologic Considerations
In addition to cancer and xerosis, seniors are at risk for several common dermatologic conditions, including the following:
- Nail Fungus (Onychomycosis)
- Seborrheic Dermatitis (Common Form of Mild Eczema)
- Warts (Verrucae Vulgaris)
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- Xerosis (Dry Skin)
- Actinic Purpura (Bruising)
- Actinic Keratosis (Pre-Cancerous Red Scaly Bumps)
- Seborrheic Keratosis (Common Benign Growths
- Intertrigo (Pink Patches in areas of skin folds)
- Stasis Dermatitis (Lower Extremity Skin Inflammation)
Your aging loved one may also be concerned about cosmetic changes, such as wrinkles and laugh lines. Your aging loved one's dermatologist will identify these conditions, listen to your concerns, and offer treatment plans, if necessary.
While skin naturally changes with age, a dermatologist can proactively identify any issues as they arise.
With so many diseases -- spanning from benign to irritating to life-threatening -- affecting the elderly, a visit to a dermatologist offers everything from pain relief for minor ailments to early detection and treatment for more serious conditions. mmlearn.org offers a large library of free videos offering support for caregivers of older adults, covering topics pertaining to senior care. Whether you are a healthcare professional or a family caregiver for an older adult, you will find mmlearn.org an essential learning and guidance tool for all of your caregiver training needs.
mmlearn.org offers a large library of free videos for caregivers of older adults, covering topics pertaining to senior care. Whether you are a healthcare professional or a family caregiver, if you are caring for an older adult we know that you will find mmlearn.org an essential learning and guidance tool for all of your caregiver training needs.