Many people complain of itchy skin as they get older.
According to the data of the Korean Society of Clinical Geriatric Medicine, 66% of the elderly feel itchy skin.
The causes of itchy skin in the elderly have been identified as skin aging, reduced epidermal regeneration ability, and chronic diseases.
As the skin ages, the production of natural moisturizing factor, a skin-protecting substance made by epidermal cells (the outermost part of the skin), decreases. When natural moisturizing factors are lacking, the skin becomes dry and more prone to itchiness.
It is also a problem that the ability of epidermal cells to regenerate is reduced. There is a research result that the cells that detect skin pressure decrease with age. According to an animal experiment conducted by a research team at Washington State University in the United States, old mice have fewer Merkel cells, which are cells that sense pressure, compared to young mice토토사이트.
When the skin detects a stimulus, Merkel cells classify whether the stimulus is itchy or simple pressure and transmit it to the nervous system. If these cells are greatly reduced or their function is reduced, you may feel itching even with a normal stimulus, such as clothes touching your skin.
Chronic diseases, which are common among the elderly, are also one of the causes of itchy skin. Diabetes, kidney disease, anemia, and hyperthyroidism are representative diseases that cause itching.
In the case of diabetic patients, the nerves do not function properly due to damage to the nerves, and they become overactive and feel itchy easily. In addition, if there is kidney disease, kidney function wastes remain, and these wastes irritate the skin and cause itching. At this time, symptoms such as lethargy and leg swelling are also accompanied.
Anemia can also cause symptoms of itching. Anemia is a disease caused by a lack of iron, and when our body lacks iron, the nerves respond easily to small stimuli. For this reason, itching feels good. Symptoms of dizziness or pale skin may also appear.
In hyperthyroidism, skin blood flow increases and the temperature of the skin surface rises. Because of this, small irritations on the skin can cause itching. It is often accompanied by tachycardia, a rapid heart rate.
If the cause of itching is a disease, treatment of the disease will alleviate the symptoms.
However, if the cause is simple skin dryness, you should pay attention to moisturizing. After showering, apply a generous amount of moisturizer. Also, it is good to prevent excessive washing of sebum. In particular, the arms and calves show severe itching due to relatively low sebum secretion, so if you wash these areas lightly with water without using soap, you can relieve some of the itching.
For detergent, neutral or slightly acidic products are recommended rather than general solid soap. Most solid soaps are alkaline, but alkali inhibits the function of enzymes that help normalize the skin barrier, making itching worse. Neutral or mildly acidic soap products are usually labeled on the packaging.
Also, avoid scratching the skin if possible. Scratching may temporarily relieve the itchiness, but in the end it can make the symptoms worse.