As people age, their bodies subsequently change and their need for medical attention generally becomes more frequent. Through aging, an individual's body becomes less resilient to fighting illnesses. The health care team for elderly people can consist of social workers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and many more.
Geriatrics or geriatric medicine is a specialty of internal medicine and family medicine that focuses on health care of elderly people. It promotes health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults. Geriatricians distinguish between diseases and the effects of normal aging. Geriatricians treat any diseases that are present and decrease the effects of aging on the body. Functional abilities, independence and quality of life issues are of great concern to geriatricians and their patients. Elderly people particularly may be subjected to polypharmacy (taking multiple medications), which may increase the risk of adverse drug reactions or drug interactions.
The decline in physiological reserve in organs also makes the elderly develop some kinds of diseases and have more complications. Some conditions that the aging population should watch out for include:
Osteoporosis: As people age, their bones tend to become thinner and weaker. This can lead to a condition known as osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become very fragile and can easily break during a fall.
Hearing loss: The most common type of age-related hearing loss is presbycusis, which decreases the ability to hear high-pitched sounds. Hearing loss can also occur from being exposed to loud sounds over time. The aging population should have regular hearing tests and may need to use a hearing aid.
Arthritis: Arthritis occurs when the fluid and cartilage in a joint wears out, causing bones to scrape against each other and create pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting senior health, which results from a lifetime of wear and tear on the joints.