Statistics from the United States Census Bureau indicate that the overall population is getting older, with a higher percentage being over the age of 65. This means that the need for senior care services such as those offered by Caring Healthcare in Columbia, SC are in higher demand. Various health conditions are impacting this demographic, including common skin conditions.
Learn about some of the skin conditions that may impact your senior loved ones:
Top 6 Skin Conditions
As you get older, your skin goes through both intrinsic and extrinsic changes that increase your risk of developing skin conditions. Some of these require medical treatment, while others do not. Research shows that approximately 75% of adults over the age of 70 have at least one skin condition that requires treatment- and approximately 40% have three or more. Below, we’ll look at 6 of the most common skin conditions affecting senior adults.
Seborrheic keratoses are benign, wart-like growth that often appears on the back, chest, face, or shoulders. They are typically elevate from the surface of the skin and are a waxy tan, brown, or black color. Treatment is not required, but it can be removed if it is causing irritation. If you notice suspicious changes in your skin including sores/growths that don’t heal, bleed, or grow rapidly, you should see your medical provider- it may be an indication of skin cancer.
Lentigo senilis, commonly known as liver spots, are flat tan, brown, or black spots. Older adults, especially those with fair skin or who have spent a lot of time outdoors are susceptible to developing lentigo senilis. These spots usually appear on the arms, face, hands, or shoulders. These spots are usually harmless and do not require treatment, but it is possible to get a prescription cream or undergo a procedure that removes or makes them less noticeable. However, certain malignant conditions, such as lentigo maligna, look like age spots. Therefore, it’s critical to work with your medical provider to determine which condition you have.
A cherry angioma, also referred to as Campbell de Morgan spots or senile angiomas, are benign, reddish growths made up of blood vessels. This skin condition is fairly common and can range in size from the size of a pinhead up to a quarter inch in diameter. In some cases, they are smooth and even with the skin- but may also be slightly raised. If scratched, cut, or rubbed, they may bleed. If you notice changes in appearance, consult your medical provider.
Melanocytic nevi, also known as a mole, is a small, pigmented spot on the skin. These usually appear during childhood or adolescence. The number of moles a person has ranges from a few to hundreds.
In most cases, the edges are clear-cut, and the color is uniform. They may darken or enlarge during times of hormonal surges such as adolescence or pregnancy. In most cases, these are harmless- but may become cancerous. Therefore, if you have moles, it’s important to have your medical provider monitor them. If they start to change in color, size, shape, or if they start to itch, crack, bleed, or become painful, it’s critical to consult a dermatologist.
Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a common fungal infection that develops on the feet. The symptoms of this condition include:
- Itchy feet
- Cracked/blistered/peeling skin between toes
- Redness/scaling on the soles
In some cases, it may spread to the toenails, causing them to thicken and turn yellow- a condition known as onychomycosis, or nail fungus.
Athlete’s foot must be treated, or it may worsen or spread. However, it is important to note that it may take several months for the condition to respond to treatment and, once a person has been exposed, it will likely return. It can be treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal medications- but if these do not work, you should speak with your medical provider.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to notify your medical provider as soon as you notice anything unusual on your feet.
Rosacea is a condition that typically appears on the face, causing redness and visible blood vessels. It is often mistaken for natural ruddiness, acne, or other skin conditions. It is most common among fair-skinned females.
There are times when it will appear to get better and times when it will appear to worsen because it is a relapsing condition. At this time, the cause is unclear but medical experts agree that it’s likely a combination of both genetic and environmental factors.
There are other conditions with symptoms similar to rosacea, such as lupus. While there is no test to confirm rosacea, there are tests that can rule out other conditions.
Your medical provider can offer treatments including oral medications, creams, and gels that can reduce flare-ups. In addition, you should avoid common triggers including stress, alcohol, and spicy foods. You should also use a pH balance skin cleanser and moisturizer and apply an SPF30 or higher sunscreen when you plan to be outdoors.
Let Caring Healthcare Provide Your Senior Care Needs
If you are living in or near Columbia, South Carolina and are in need of in-home senior care services, contact Caring Healthcare. We offer a variety of services including in-home, non-medical care to in-home nursing care and special needs including monitoring skin conditions. Schedule your care assessment today to learn how we can help you or your loved one.