News reports are full of statistics showing how things like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are on the rise. Something that you do not hear a lot about that is affecting approximately one quarter of US residents is skin disease.
It is estimated that one in four Americans is currently battling with some form of skin disease. And according to reports issued by the American Academy of Dermatology at their annual meeting, Americans should expect that the prevalence of skin disease will continue to rise. This is due in part to the fact that people are living longer, and this aging American population is more susceptible to skin disease.
What makes this increase in the number of skin disease cases so staggering is the fact that it affects people from every walk of life and at every economic level. These diseases have a startling effect on a person’s self-esteem, the type of employment that they can choose to do and the economy as a whole. This is according to what Dr. Henry Lim, the new president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said in a news release. Dr. Lim and other medical professionals working at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit in 2013 found that insurance claims were made for 24 different types of diseases of the skin.
The vast majority of people had skin diseases that were non-cancerous. These included things like keloids, scars and cysts. Cutaneous infections and viral fungal diseases tied for second place as reasons for insurance claims. Lowest on the list were diseases like vitiligo and cutaneous lymphoma. Something that really surprised Dr. Lim was the fact that 50 percent of the disease categories that they looked at resulted in at least some patients losing their lives.
While skin disease affects Americans in every age group, a higher percentage of Americans who were over the age of 65 made claims for skin disease, accounting for around 49.4 percent of the claims as opposed to those in the 18 to 44 years old range. The results that were found by Dr. Lim and his colleagues show that there was a stark increase in the number of disease cases reported in 2013 as opposed to when a similar review was done in 2004.
The doctors are quick to point out that when comparing the results of 2013 with those in 2004, they have to take into consideration the fact that different methodologies were being used and technology has improved when it comes to identifying these diseases. But even with that, there was still a clear increase in skin disease occurrences over that nine-year time period.
As with all things, prevention is key in preventing diseases of the skin from developing or progressing. This underscores the importance of helping patients get access to the proper care when they’re young with the goal of preventing serious skin diseases as they age.