According to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, skin disorders were the primary reasons for which Minnesota residents visited their health providers between January 1st, 2005 and December 31st, 2009. In fact, more people visited their health providers for skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, or cysts than they did for heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Over half of the study population was diagnosed with skin conditions during the five-year study period.
Researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota looked through medical records of over 142,000 residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota who visited the Mayo Clinic and other local healthcare providers between the years of 2005 and 2009. The researchers then categorized the diagnoses into groups which included the above groups and also included:
"Surprisingly, the most prevalent non-acute conditions in our community were not chronic conditions related to aging, such as diabetes and heart disease, but rather conditions which affect both genders and all age groups," says Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., the lead author on the study and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Mayo Clinic.
According to Dr. Sauver, her findings present an opportunity to discover why skin-related diagnoses result in so many visits. One likely reason is that when it comes to the skin, people can actually see their skin condition get worse. This is very different from diseases such as high blood pressure, or plaque buildup inside of arteries. These conditions are vital to a person's health, but since people cannot "see" their diseases, they may not seek early intervention.
Original article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Why Patients Visit Their Doctors: Assessing the Most Prevalent Conditions in a Defined American Population