The number one non-communicable chronic disease. Elderly people suffering from diabetes are prone for multiple complications related to the disease like neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy, diabetic foot disease, cognitive disorders and others. Many are prone to suffer from frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, which can lead to poor quality of life. A Geriatrician provides appropriate management for the Senior Citizens with Diabetes, taking all these factors into consideration
With the increasing life expectancy, majority of the elderly have high blood pressure and on medications for it. Sometimes, in spite of taking medicines, their blood pressure is not controlled and high BP may cause Heart Attacks or Strokes. On the other hand, some elderly suffer from episodes of low BP, which may present as light-headedness, dizziness, fatigability. A Geriatrician optimizes the medications to keep the blood pressure in control.
COPD and Asthma are common respiratory diseases in the elderly. They are prone for frequent exacerbations (attacks) related to these conditions. Many elderly people don’t know how to use the inhalers prescribed to them. In addition, they are prone to develop respiratory infections. Some suffer from condition called Interstitial Lung Disease. A Geriatrician is trained to appropriately manage these and other respiratory conditions in the senior citizens.
One of the major problems faced by many senior citizens. They frequently complain of feeling giddy or dizzy when getting up from bed or changing position in bed or on prolonged walking. This hampers their daily activities and, in some cases, may lead to falls and subsequent fractures, which can be catastrophic. A Geriatrician has the expertise in properly evaluating these symptoms, to find out the underlying cause and provide appropriate management.
An issue of increasing concern. Since there is no proven medical or surgical cure for this grave condition till now, it becomes apt to diagnose the condition and start treatment as early as possible. Advanced cases present with restricted mobility and behavioral disorders. In extreme cases, caregiver burnout is a likely possibility. A Geriatrician is skilled to accurately diagnose and classify this condition early on. In advanced cases, can help the family cope with this problem.
We hear many instances where an elderly person has had a fall in the bathroom or toilet or when getting up from bed or slipping on the road. In some cases, it may cause serious injuries like fractures and bleeding in the brain, which can lead to coma and other serious outcomes. To think of it, many of the elderly don’t even report the fall they have had in the past, thinking it to be a normal part of ageing. But it is important to realize that, this condition should not be ignored and can be prevented. A Geriatrician is expert in Falls assessment and provide targeted interventions for preventing it.
It is commonly seen that many senior citizens on an average take 5 or more medicines every day. This may be for a single condition like diabetes or multiple health problems being present. But studies have shown that taking more than 5 medicines daily increases the risk of side effects like dizziness, falls, vision problems, sleep issues, constipation, urinary retention, sleep issues and affects each and every organ system in the body. A Geriatrician is skilled in optimizing the number of medicines taken by an elder person and keep only the appropriate treatment that will help the senior citizens lead a good quality of life.
Arthritis, especially of the knees and hips are very common in elderly. Similarly, Osteoporosis (a condition associated with decreased bone strength), which leads to fractures after trivial trauma is also common in elderly. Many of the pain killers taken for this condition may affect the kidney functioning and can cause renal failure. A Geriatrician aptly diagnoses the type of the various arthritis or myalgias that an elderly may be suffering from and provides necessary safe treatment.
Many senior citizens experience sleep issues. Some report difficulty falling asleep, while others report frequent interruptions in their sleep. Taking sleep medicines for a prolonged period is not recommended, as it may cause serious side effects. Lack of sleep is shown to worsen Diabetes, Blood pressure, Mood problems, Cognitive issues, Heart disease and other organ systems. A Geriatrician provides appropriate management for the various insomnias.
A Geriatrician is trained to diagnose various mood disorders in senior citizens like Depression, Anxiety and so on. Lack of diagnosis or inappropriate treatment of these conditions can lead to poor health prognosis and hamper the quality of life of the elderly.
A Geriatrician has the expertise to find out the root cause of various nutritional problems in elderly people like loss of appetite (without any reason), being overweight or obese and elderly malnutrition. They are trained to provide necessary management for the concerned nutritional problem.
A Geriatrician provides diagnosis and appropriate medical management of various urinary issues in senior citizens like prostate problems (in men), urinary infections, urinary incontinence and other related issues.
Bowel habits like diarrhea and especially constipation can be very troublesome for some senior citizens. In some cases, it is also very difficult to treat. This can lead to laxative abuse, which may cause other side effects. A Geriatrician is trained to find out the cause for this condition and provide treatment.
Each and every one of us wants to lead an independent life. But in some instances, an elderly person becomes dependent on the family members or caregivers, even to do their daily routine tasks like getting up from bed, going to toilet, bathing, changing clothes, eating food, taking their medicines and even moving around. A Geriatrician assesses the Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s and IADL’s), mainly responsible in the self-care and independence of the elderly people and provides targeted care pathways in case of any limitations in them.
It is common to see many senior citizens to suffer from multiple health problems like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cholesterol issues, Heart problems, Respiratory disorders, Mood disorders, Sleep problems, Vision problems, Hearing problems. This in many cases leads to the elderly person taking many medicines for each and every condition. A Geriatrician’s ultimate goal is to look at all these conditions in totality and provide a comprehensive care intervention or pathway, with minimal medicines, so that the senior citizens can lead a better quality of life.
As we grow older, our immunity decreases and our bodies ability to handle infections decreases. Many elderly people are prone to serious infections like pneumonias, which can be easily preventable with regular vaccinations. A Geriatrician can accurately prescribe the vaccines that need to be taken by the senior citizens.