When Do You Need a Geriatrician?


Being in a good relationship with a physician who is well qualified to address your health care needs is a fundamental requirement for healthy aging. For some older adults, it may be necessary to switch from primary care physicians to geriatricians. Geriatricians are doctors who specialize in geriatrics, a branch of medicine that deals with the health of seniors. A geriatric specialist can help in diagnosing, treating, and preventing old age diseases and disabilities. Below are the common old age circumstances that necessitate the services of a geriatrician.

You are on Several Medications

Over 30 percent of American adults aged 62 years and above take an average of five prescription drugs. About two-thirds of them rely on some kind of herbal or dietary supplements. Unfortunately, the more drugs a person is on, the more they are likely going to suffer from the side effects, have cognitive issues, and even end up hospitalized. The older people get, the more difficult it gets for their bodies to metabolize drugs or even get them out. Older people taking multiple transcription drugs are also likely to suffer from health issues resulting from reactions between different drugs in their bodies. A geriatrician can help you to determine the medication that you need and the ones that you may have to shelve.

You are Less Mobile

Falls are a major cause of injuries and even death among seniors. Therefore, if you are not feeling as steady as you used to and you are experiencing difficulties trying to get around, then it is imperative for you to seek the assistance of a geriatrician. The doctor will assess your gait and balance. They will then recommend the most appropriate balance-strengthening physical exercise and therapy for you. The geriatrician may even send an occupational or physical therapist to your house to conduct a fall-risk assessment. These steps will go a long way in keeping you independent longer.

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You are Forgetting Often

Studies show that over two-thirds of people aged 65 years and above with dementia are undiagnosed or unaware of it. Dementia is simply an overall term used to describe conditions characterized by deterioration of mental capabilities, such as memory. Therefore, if you are over 60 and you are having difficulties remembering things, then it is wise for you to see a geriatrician. A geriatrician may test you for mild cognitive impairment-the precursor for dementia. The doctor can also screen you for depression, which is quite subtle among seniors.

The Takeaway

Overall, it is apparent that the importance of the services of geriatricians cannot be overemphasized. These doctors specialize in addressing the unique health care needs of seniors. Therefore, if you are over 65 years old, having a good relationship with a geriatrician can help you to stay healthy and independent longer. If you are looking for a reliable geriatric specialist, then James L. Jewell, MD of Jewell Family & Elder Medicine, PA, is the answer. Feel free to contact or visit the facility today for more information about their services.

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