Itchy skin is an uncomfortable, irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch. Also known as pruritus proo-RIE-tusitchy skin can be caused or worsened by dry skin. It's common in older adults, as skin tends to become drier with age.
Itch, also called pruritis, can be a very uncomfortable and frustrating symptom at the end of life. Scratching may cause breaks in the skin, bleeding and infection. Understanding itch.
Articles in the December issue discuss various health issues affecting school-aged children, including acne, eczema and growth disorders. Volume 43, No. Pruritus is the most common skin complaint in patients over the age of 65 years.
But new research suggests that while prevalence goes down as children grow older, it actually goes back up again later in life. In a letter published in the academic medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers note a U-shaped curve in the prevalence of eczema. Katrina Abuabara, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California San Francisco and a lead author of the study, told Healthline that the results were somewhat surprising.
Many seniors are familiar with the changes that occur in their skin as it ages; changes that result in uncomfortable symptoms such as dry, flaky skin and pruritis, or itching. In fact, the majority of the elderly population suffers from dry, itchy skin. The itch-scratch cycle can lead to more irritation and, in severe cases, infection. Though it is not a serious condition, itchy skin often causes discomfort for the sufferer.
Itching is a common symptomatic complaint that can be difficult to diagnose because older patients often take multiple medications and have health conditions that can complicate the diagnosis of pruritus. However, some itching sensations can result in continued scratching, causing inflammation, cuts, and secondary skin infections from the itch-scratch cycle that ensues. At times, the itch-scratch cycle can mask the primary cause of the itch because it results in secondary skin lesions such as eczematous changes, lichenification, and excoriation.