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What Is a Geriatric Doctor?

A  Geriatric Doctor is a Geriatrician.

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A geriatric doctor, also known as a Geriatrician, is a professional who studies the aging process. A Geriatrician also studies how to prevent diseases. One of the biggest issues for a Geriatrician is to prevent and treat dementia. Older people who have an increase in health problems should seek help from a Geriatrician. 

A Geriatrician can work in an elderly facility, a hospital, a clinic, or in private practice. A Geriatrician treats and prevents the ill-effects of aging while a Gerontologist simply studies the aging process itself.

The older population--persons 65 years or olderónumbered 39.6 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available). They represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans.

By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000. People 65+ represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000 but are expected to grow to be 19% of the population by 2030.

Geriatric physician with patient

What is a Geriatrician (Geriatric Doctor)?

If you are getting older and having more health problems you may want to consider seeing a doctor who specializes in geriatric medicine.

A geriatrician is a physician who has completed a residency in either Internal Medicine or Family Medicine with an additional one or two year fellowship training in the medical, social, and psychological issues that concern older adults. This specialty is increasing in importance as the population ages and that aging population lives longer.

People over the age of 85 are the fast growing segment of the population. It is no longer a rarity for people to live to be one hundred. A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in care for people 65 and older. Just as a pediatrician tends to the needs of a child, a geriatrician cares for the special needs of changing seniors. Geriatricians approach each patientís needs individually, and possess the knowledge and expertise needed to accommodate seniors.

They are typically board certified in Internal Medicine and have additional training in areas pertaining to elder care. They can better address issues such as memory loss, arthritis, osteoporosis, mobility and Alzheimerís disease. Clearly, geriatrics includes more than treating physical problems; it means recognizing how health conditions affect seniors socially and emotionally, and vice versa. Seniors often associate age with disease. Yet, aging does not cause diseases.

While many seniors believe that the reason they are not feeling well is because they are getting older, this is not always the case. The problems they are experiencing may be related to an illness or injury not at all caused by age. This is why it is important to seek the helpful knowledge of a geriatrician.

This type of physician practice far exceeds simply diagnosing a physical problem and treating it. Geriatricians collect information about patientsí lifestyles, community, family, and their entire medical history. The most appropriate term for a physician who specializes in the care of older adults is geriatrician, not gerontologist.  A gerontologist is generally a non-physician, though physicians who focus on aging research can also be considered gerontologists.

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