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Geriatric Medicine Specialist Doctor

Geriatric Medicine Specialist

For elderly people with health problems, special care from a geriatric medicine specialist or geriatrician is required. The elderly category (seniors) is defined as those who are aged above 60 years.

In general, health complaints that often arise in elderly patients include bladder control problems, reduced vision, memory loss, and fatigue.

Why do elderly parents require special treatment from geriatric specialists? Due to a decrease in physical and mental health, along with a decrease in hormone production and a slowdown in metabolism in the elderly’s body, this makes the body more susceptible to illness. The role of a geriatrician is to help the elderly to deal with their health issues and educate them about how to avoid age-related illnesses.

The term geriatrics comes from the Greek words “geron”, which means parents, and “iatreia”, which means treatment of disease.  Geriatrics in the medical world is defined as a branch of medicine that focuses on dealing with and preventing health problems experienced by elderly persons.

Diseases and Conditions Treated by Geriatricians

If you are in the elderly age range or have elderly family members or relatives, you need to pay attention to the following health problems:

  • Diseases due to decrease in body function, this usually occurs because the elderly’s body is no longer working optimally. For example, reduced vision, reduced memory, and slow metabolism.
  • Reduced ability to move (immobilization), a health problem that causes the elderly to no longer be able to move quickly or even reduce the ability to move, stand, walk, sit or do other activities.
  • Cognitive disorders, an elderly health issue that changes behavior and ways of thinking that may be triggered by hormonal disorders, metabolic disorders, side effects of medications, and other diseases
  • Side effects of certain medications, a condition of decrease in hormone production, metabolism and endurance in the elderly, which makes it easier for elderly persons to experience side effects from a medication. Treatment by a geriatrician is needed to reduce side effects or to find alternative medications with no side effects for the elderly.
  • Heart disease, causes death in the elderly who generally suffer from other diseases such as hypertension and high cholesterol.
  • Arthritis, joint inflammatory pain that often occurs in the elderly. This disease causes impairments and disabilities when doing physical activities.
  • Cancer, a disease that has greater risk in elderly people
  • Dementia, a disease that affects memory, thinking , and behavior caused by mental or nervous system disorders.
  • Obesity, a condition which has the potential to cause various chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, gall bladder, and type 2 diabetes. Eating healthy foods, reducing sugar, and avoiding foods with saturated fat can reduce the potential for disease caused by obesity.
  • Osteoporosis, a bone loss condition caused by reduced bone mass. This can be triggered by various factors such as lack of exercise, smoking, lack of calcium intake, and alcohol consumption during one’s youth.
  • Respiratory disorders, a disorder caused by several types of diseases such as asthma and heart disease.
  • Diabetes, a disease that is often experienced by the elderly and causes too much sugar in the blood. This disease can cause blindness (glaucoma).

Medical Procedures Treated by Geriatricians

A geriatric specialist doctor will generally perform a test, then evaluate the patient’s condition – starting from tracing his/her medical history to medical interviews, both with patients and family members who are accompanying the patient.

Geriatricians can be assisted by a medical team. Parties involved are physiatrists (rehabilitation medicine specialists), physiotherapists, nutrition specialists, speech therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and caregivers or nurses.

For the improvement of an elderly person’s health and life, a geriatrician may prescribe medical measures such as:

  • Physical therapy or physiotherapy, this treatment is intended for elderly who have difficulty moving due to various diseases such as stroke, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis. Physiotherapy is performed to maintain and improve flexibility, mobility, and body balance in the elderly.
  • Psychotherapy, a treatment intended for elderly people with mental / cognitive disorders. Age-related physiological changes may lead to stress and depression in the elderly, which requires psychotherapy involving psychiatrists and psychologists.
  • Medication Management, the process of overseeing medications prescribed for an elderly patient by geriatricians. Since the elderly are not in their prime condition anymore, they tend to deal with disorders that require various drugs. In fact, the elderly’s body is no longer able to deal with the side effects of many medications and risks to burden kidney function. The geriatrician is in charge of providing the right prescription.

When to See a Geriatrician?

If you, your family members, or relatives are over 60 years, consultation with a geriatrician is necessary to check your physical condition and detect health problems early even though you have not shown any significant symptoms.

As for elderly persons who are already experiencing symptoms and have the following conditions, it is advisable to see a geriatric medicine specialist:

  • Experiencing joint pain and limited movement (symptoms of arthritis).
  • Dealing with a chronic disease such as heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes.
  • Difficulty breathing due to lung disease, asthma, bronchitis.
  • Difficulty thinking and remembering, (symptom of Alzheimer’s or dementia)
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Weakened and decreased body function.
  • Consuming medications in large quantities.
  • Nutrition and metabolism disorders
  • Experiencing difficulties in carrying out daily activities.

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