The prevalence of skin diseases in the elderly: analysis of 4099 geriatric patients

Int J Dermatol. 2006 Jun;45(6):672-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2005.02607.x.


Background: The geriatric population is composed of persons over 65 years of age, and few studies are available on the dermatologic diseases in this group.

Methods: Data on a total of 4099 geriatric patients admitted between the years 1999-2003 were analyzed. Hospital-based patient registry records were used for data collection. The data were analyzed according to age, sex, and time of admittance.

Results: The five most frequently encountered diseases in elderly patients were eczematous dermatitis, fungal infections, pruritus, and bacterial and viral infections. The most common disorders in males were fungal, bacterial, and viral infections, disorders of the feet, cutaneous ulcers, and vesiculo-bullous diseases, whereas, in females, they were immune-rheumatologic diseases and disorders of the mucous membranes. The five most frequently encountered diseases were significantly different in geriatric age subgroups. In the younger age group, pruritus, disorders due to sun exposure, and precancerous lesions and skin carcinomas were less common, whereas eczematous dermatitis was more common. The frequencies of some diseases showed significant seasonal variations. Infestations were more common in spring and summer, fungal infections were more common in summer but less so in winter, pruritus was more common in autumn but less so in spring, disorders due to sun exposure were more common in spring, and benign neoplasia were more common in autumn. In 2003, benign neoplasia, precancerous lesions and skin carcinomas, and immune-rheumatic disorders were more common, but vesicular and bullous diseases, fungal infections, and cutaneous lymphomas were less common when compared with the year 1999.

Conclusions: This study provides important data on the frequency of dermatologic diseases in elderly patients, and shows variations in the frequency depending on age, gender, and season. We believe that this study will create awareness about the extent and patterns of dermatologic problems in geriatric patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dermatomycoses / epidemiology
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Pruritus / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / epidemiology
  • Turkey / epidemiology