Prevalence and burden of skin diseases among the elderly in Singapore: A 15?year clinical cohort study


Populations around the world are rapidly ageing. The profile of skin diseases in the elderly is likely to present unique demands on the healthcare system.


To provide current data on the burden of skin diseases in Singaporean patients and identify differences in the pattern of skin diseases between elderly patients and the rest of the population.


This was a retrospective cohort study of 858,117 patients who attended the National Skin Centre between 2004 to 2018. Prevalence was calculated by grouping International Classification of Diseases codes into different categories of skin conditions based on Global Burden of Disease and American Academy of Dermatology classifications. Years lost to disability (YLD) and disability-adjusted life years (DALY) were calculated to report the morbidity and mortality of skin diseases. Differences of each skin condition between age groups were compared.


The three most prevalent dermatoses across all age groups were dermatitis (33.3%), acne vulgaris (8.3%) and viral skin diseases (7.5%). The top three most common skin conditions among the elderly were dermatitis (37.7%), viral skin diseases (6.2%), and fungal skin diseases (4.3%). Decubitus ulcers, keratinocyte carcinomas and scabies represented a significant proportion of YLD per 100,000 in the elderly (p <0.001). Malignant melanomas, keratinocyte carcinomas, cellulitis, pyoderma, and decubitus ulcers contributed to high DALY in patients aged 70 – 80?years old.


Aligning health systems with specific healthcare needs will reduce the disproportionately high burden of skin disease observed in the elderly.