Older adults have special healthcare needs that can make their medical care more complicated. More than half of adults age 65 and older have 3 or more medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, or high blood pressure. Caring for older people with multiple health problems can be tricky, even for healthcare professionals who specialize in GERIATRICS, the medical care of older adults.
For example, prescribing medications for a patient with multiple health problems is more complex. A drug that might be useful in treating one health problem can make another problem worse, and taking multiple medications can cause problematic drug interactions and side effects.
What is a Geriatric Physician?
A geriatric physician, also called a geriatrician, is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and disability in older adults. Geriatric physicians are primary care doctors who are specially trained in the aging process.
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.
What is a Geriatrician?
Geriatricians are board-certified internists
or family physicians who have additional training and certification
in geriatrics. Other healthcare professionals, such as nurses,
social workers, pharmacists and physical therapists, can also have
advanced training in
geriatrics. Because of their special training, geriatricians typically provide care for frail older people who have the most complicated medical and social problems.
If you are getting older and having more health problems you may
want to consider seeing a doctor who specializes in geriatric
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 patient'sneeds individually, and possess the knowledge and expertise needed to accommodate seniors.
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 patient's 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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