What is it?
Geriatrics, also called Geriatric Medicine, is a branch of medicine that specializes in the care of the health of elderly patients. It aims at promoting the health of older adults by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities.
Geriatrics is quite different from conventional adult medicine as it focuses on the needs that are unique to an elderly patient as the aged body is different in physiology compared to that of a younger adult patient.
Some of the complications usually faced in geriatric care are,
- Decline of the different organ systems becomes more obvious as the body reaches old age.
- The lifestyle choices and previous health issues can cause a whole different set of diseases and symptoms in different people.
- Symptoms: Another issue is the appearance of the symptoms, which depends on the remaining health of the organs.
- Increased Complexity: as the aged body has a decline in health of the organs,
- Elderly patients can get complications from even mild problems.
- Polypharmacy or taking multiple medications, like herbal medications and over-the-counter drugs, increase the risk of adverse drug reactions.
- Impairment: Elderly patients face major impairment issues like immobility, impaired vision, hearing loss, instability, incontinence, and impaired memory and intellect.
- Practical Concerns: Elderly patients with their diminished functional abilities, independence, and quality of life face quite a large number of practical concerns. They would need home care services, skilled nurses/nursing facilities, assisted living facilities etc.
Some of the common medical Geriatric specialties are:
- Cardiogeriatrics that focus on the cardiac diseases that affect elderly patients.
- Geriatric Dermatology focusses on the skin disorders affecting the elderly patients.
- Geriatric Nephrology takes care of the diseases that can affect the kidneys of geriatric patients.
- Geriatric Neurology focusses on the neurological disorders of aged patients.
- Geriatric Oncology takes care of the tumors that affect elderly patients.
- Geriatric Rehabilitation deals with the physical therapy provided to elderly patients.
- Geriatric Rheumatology focusses on the disorders that affect the joints and soft tissue disorders in geriatric patients.
Geriatric patients have their own specialties in terms of surgery as given below,
- Orthogeriatrics is associated with orthopedic surgery but focussing on osteoporosis and rehabilitation.
- Geriatric Cardiothoracic Surgery is associated with the surgery for treating the organs within the thorax or chest but for elderly patients.
- Geriatric Urology deals with surgical interventions required to treat the male and female urinary-tract system as well as the male reproductive organs of aged patients.
- Geriatric General Surgery is associated with surgeries that are done to treat elderly patients for a wide range of ailments.
- Geriatric Trauma deals with traumatic injuries that can affect the elderly patients as most of the prevailing causes for traumatic deaths in elderly patients are falls, traffic collisions, and burns