Geriatric medicine is the branch of medicine which focuses on the healthcare of elderly individuals. The aim of this discipline is to promote health by preventing and treating disabilities and diseases which affect old adults. There is not a specific age for a person to be treated by a geriatrician. Indeed, this decision is based on the needs of the patient and the disponibility of the specialist.
Sometimes, the discipline is confused with gerontology which is the study of the ageing process.
Geriatric medicine differs from adults medicine as it focuses only on elderly people. As well as this, the aged body is different from the younger adult body and, during the old age, there is a decadence of different organs. Therefore, it is important that geriatricians will distinguish diseases from the effect of normal ageing.
The main problems elderly people present and that geriatricians have to deal with are known as geriatric giants and include immobility, impaired intellect and memory, instability and incontinence. Furthermore, impaired vision and hearing loss are also common problems among older people.
There are various subdisciplines which are related to geriatric medicine including cardiogeriatrics, geriatric dermatology, geriatric dentistry, geriatric neurology, geriatric ontology, geriatric rehabilitation and geriatric rheumatology.
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