Itch prevalence and characteristics in a Hispanic geriatric population: a comprehensive study using a standardized itch questionnaire

Rodrigo Valdes-Rodriguez, Nicholas K Mollanazar, Jorge González-Muro, Leigh Nattkemper, Bertha Torres-Alvarez, Francisco Javier López-Esqueda, Yiong-Huak Chan, Gil Yosipovitch
Acta Dermato-venereologica 2015, 95 (4): 417-21
A cross-sectional study of geriatric patients was performed to provide a comprehensive description of the prevalence and clinical characteristics of chronic itch affecting Hispanic geriatric subjects in Mexico. Participants were recruited from both nursing homes and geriatric ambulatory care centers. Patients without dementia were evaluated using an itch intensity and characteristic questionnaire and were assessed for itch-related dermatoses (n = 302). Data on medications and underlying systemic diseases were obtained from medical records. The prevalence of chronic itch was 25% in this population. Of those with chronic itch, 69% had xerosis, 28% had itch-related dermatoses, and 96% had documented comorbidities. The most common comorbidities were diabetes mellitus (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-3.9, p = 0.003) and chronic venous insufficiency (OR = 4.4, 95% CI 1.6-12.2, p = 0.002). The most common areas where patients experienced itch were legs (54%), back (45%), scalp (28%) and arms (27%). Patients experienced the greatest amount of itch in the winter (77%) and during the night (65%). Chronic itch is a common problem in the studied Hispanic geriatric population, and its presence significantly correlates with xerosis, diabetes, and venous insufficiency.

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