|Significant diseases||Dementia, 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
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
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
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
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
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.
- cardiogeriatrics: Focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart diseases in the elderly.
- geriatric dentistry: Addresses dental disorders and oral care needs specific to the aging population.
- geriatric dermatology: Specializes in diagnosing and treating skin conditions commonly associated with aging.
- geriatric diagnostic imaging: Pertains to imaging techniques tailored to elderly patients.
- geriatric emergency medicine: Concerned with the urgent medical needs and treatments suitable for older adults.
- geriatric nephrology: Centers on kidney diseases and their treatments for the elderly.
- geriatric neurology: Focuses on neurological disorders, such as dementia or Parkinson's, affecting older individuals.
- geriatric oncology: Deals with cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention in elderly patients.
- geriatric physical examination: Physical assessments and screenings particularly designed for older adults.
- psychogeriatrics: Handles psychiatric disorders like dementia, delirium, and depression predominant in the aged.
- preventive geriatrics: Emphasizes public health concerns, promoting health and preventing diseases in the elderly.
- geriatric rehabilitation: Aims at restoring physical, occupational, and speech functions in elderly patients.
- geriatric rheumatology: Diagnoses and treats joint and soft tissue conditions in the elderly.
- geriatric sexology: Addresses sexual health and related issues in older individuals.
- geriatric subspeciality medical clinics: Clinics that provide specialized care for elderly patients, including those focused on anticoagulation, falls and balance, incontinence, and cognitive disorders.
- Orthogeriatrics: Integrates orthopedic surgery with geriatric care, concentrating on conditions like osteoporosis.
- Geriatric Cardiothoracic Surgery: Involves heart and lung surgeries tailored for the elderly.
- Geriatric urology: Focuses on urological disorders in the elderly.
- Geriatric otolaryngology: Concerns ear, nose, and throat conditions in older adults.
- Geriatric General Surgery: General surgical procedures adapted for the aging population.
- Geriatric trauma: Addresses injuries and traumas in older adults.
- Geriatric gynecology: Pertains to women's health issues in the post-menopausal stage.
- Geriatric ophthalmology: Concentrates on eye conditions and their treatments in the elderly.
Other geriatrics subspecialties
- Geriatric anesthesia: Administers anesthesia for surgeries and procedures in elderly patients, considering their unique needs.
- Geriatric intensive-care unit: ICUs specifically equipped to care for critically ill elderly patients.
- Geriatric nursing: Nursing care tailored for the unique needs of elderly patients.
- Geriatric nutrition: Focuses on the dietary and nutritional needs of older adults.
- Geriatric occupational therapy: Helps elderly patients regain daily living skills.
- Geriatric pain management: Focuses on alleviating chronic and acute pain in the elderly.
- Geriatric Pharmacy: Concerned with the safe use of medications in older adults.
- Geriatric physical therapy: Physical therapy tailored to the elderly, aiding in mobility and strength.
- Geriatric podiatry: Addresses foot and ankle issues in older adults.
- Geriatric psychology: Focuses on mental health issues and cognitive disorders in the elderly.
- Geriatric speech-language pathology: Provides therapy for speech and swallowing disorders in older adults.
- Geriatric mental health counselor / Specialist: Delivers mental health services tailored to the elderly.
- Geriatric audiology: Concentrates on hearing disorders and solutions for the elderly.
List of Geriatricians (USA)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- Elderly care
- Long-term care
- Aging in Place
- Aging-associated diseases
- Alliance for Aging Research
- Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy
- Life extension
- Geriatric medicine in Egypt
- Transgenerational design
- Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics (journal)
- Gerontological nursing
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