Geriatrics and Gerontology


Geriatrics, or geriatric medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with the problems and diseases of old age and the medical care and treatment of aging people. It aims to promote health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults. It is important to note the difference between geriatrics and gerontology, which is the study of the social, cultural, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of ageing.


Differences between adult and geriatric medicine


Geriatrics differs from standard adult medicine because it focuses on the unique needs of the elderly person. The aged body is different physiologically from the younger adult body, and during old age, the decline of various organ systems becomes manifest. Previous health issues and lifestyle choices produce a different constellation of diseases and symptoms in different people. The appearance of symptoms depends on the remaining healthy reserves in the organs. Smokers, for example, consume their respiratory system reserve early and rapidly.

Geriatricians distinguish between diseases and the effects of normal aging. For example, renal impairment may be a part of aging, but renal failure and urinary incontinence are not. Geriatricians aim to treat diseases that are present and achieve healthy aging. Geriatricians focus on achieving the patient's highest priorities in the context of multiple chronic conditions, and on preserving function.

Geriatric giants

The so-called geriatric giants are the major categories of impairment that appear in elderly people, especially as they begin to fail. These include immobility, instability, incontinence and impaired intellect/memory. 
Impaired vision and hearing loss are common chronic problems among older people. Hearing problems can lead to social isolation, depression, and dependence as the person can no longer talk to other people, receive information over the telephone, or engage in simple transactions, such as talking to a person at a bank or store. Vision problems lead to falls from tripping over unseen objects, medicine being taken incorrectly because the written instructions could not be read, and finances being mismanaged.
Some diseases commonly seen in elderly are rare in adults, e.g., dementia, delirium, falls. As societies aged, many specialized geriatric- and geriatrics-related services emerged including cardiogeriatrics, geriatric neurology, geriatric psychiatry, oncogeriatrics, geriatric hematology etc. 


Gerontology is the study of the socialculturalpsychologicalcognitive, and biological aspects of ageing.

7/23/2019 3:06:15 PM

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