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Nurse in geriatry.jpg
An elderly woman in a residential care home
receiving a birthday cake
Significant diseasesDementia, arthritis, palliative care,
osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,
Parkinson's disease, atherosclerosis,
heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol

Geriatrics is a branch of medicine concerned with the healthcare, prevention, and treatment of diseases and disabilities in the elderly population.

Definition and Scope[edit | edit source]

Geriatrics, often referred to as geriatric medicine, centers on promoting well-being in older adults. It focuses on ensuring that elderly individuals maintain optimal health, functioning, and quality of life. Unlike gerontology, which studies the aging process itself, geriatrics is more clinically oriented, addressing the medical conditions and issues specific to the elderly.

Origin of the Term[edit | edit source]

The word "geriatrics" is derived from the Greek words:

  • γέρων (geron) - meaning "old man"
  • ιατρός (iatros) - meaning "healer"

This essentially translates to "healer of the old man".

Differences from Gerontology[edit | edit source]

While both geriatrics and gerontology are related to the elderly and the aging process, they serve distinct roles:

  • Geriatrics: Primarily deals with the healthcare needs of older adults. It involves diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases in the elderly.
  • Gerontology: Is a broader field that studies the biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging.

It is essential to distinguish between these two disciplines to ensure appropriate care and research in the realm of aging.

Role of a Geriatrician[edit | edit source]

A geriatrician is a physician specializing in geriatrics. These medical professionals have extensive training in the unique healthcare needs of older adults. There's no specific age threshold for a patient to see a geriatrician. Instead, the decision relies on the particular healthcare needs of the individual and the specialist's availability.

Geriatrics Subspecialties and Related Services[edit | edit source]

The field of geriatrics branches into numerous subspecialties, each of which concentrates on specific health concerns that predominantly affect the elderly. These subspecialties provide tailored care to address the unique and often multifaceted medical needs of older adults.

Medical[edit | edit source]

Surgical[edit | edit source]

Other geriatrics subspecialties[edit | edit source]

List of Geriatricians (USA)[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

Geriatrics Resources
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD