Dermatology concerns in the elderly

May 13, 2019

The older patient is a vital part our medical practice. Increased longevity will increase the number of elderly. As people live longer, their dermatologic needs will increase as the skin, hair and nails must last longer. The secret to healthy aging is to keep yourself functioning in mind and body as long as possible despite one’s changing lifestyle and often complex diseases and/or medications to treat them—all with important skin-related impact including skin and hair loss by numerous diseases such as alopecia areaa and mycosis and those related to menopause like dry skin symptoms where regular treatments (and maintenance) of the affected area are needed. Just as children are not merely “young adults,” elderly patients are not just “old adults.”

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Older people undergo psychologic, physiologic, and anatomic changes that affect all organ systems including the skin. Due to the increased number of chronic diseases that become more common with age; multiple medical specialists are involved in the patient’s care which may compound existing problems or create new ones such as drug interactions or the effects of polypharmacy on many organs of the body including the hair skin and nail unit because of the increased demands of the skin and the consequent increase in requirements of our medicine able to cover it! Aging can also alter appearance on general appearance and the person self image which may affect someone psychologically and thus affect the therapeutic relationship essential for a successful management in both medical and cosmetic dermatology patients of all ages regardless of their chronological age.

As the population ages and challenges emerge for our practicing dermatologist it is imperative that we remain at the forefront of developing techniques and knowledge to best manage the needs of this patient population whether they are at our clinic for an office visit. Be caring and offer social support, which elderly patients require from the initial consultation to the postoperative period. Many older adults may not have others with whom they can discuss their worries and emotional concerns comfortably because of lack of family support or lack of presence of relatives who are capable of taking care of their needs at the appropriate time which is especially true for older patients who have no children capable of taking them to the hospital post-operatively because of a disability preventing them to do so themselves, this is where a facility like the senior living in Orangvale, CA comes to be one of the best options.

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