The term geriatrics immediately conjures the old and the aged. However, geriatrics refers to a branch of medical science that specifically focuses on providing health care to the elderly. The aim of geriatrics is to ensure that disease is prevented while disabilities and illnesses are treated in elderly people. And a doctor who specializes in treating elderly patients is known as a geriatrician.
Why is geriatrics a separate branch of medicine? Well, the reason is very simple. As a person ages and joins the ranks of other elderly people, his body tends to become physiologically different from other adults. Basically the body functions tend to decline and this decline varies from one person to another depending on their lifestyle and health.
While taking care of an elderly relative, you may not be able to differentiate a disease from the aging process. However, a geriatrician would be. While you may think that incontinence is part and parcel of aging, it is not. It is usually happens due to many underlying problems and the geriatrician is the best person to help treat this condition.
In geriatrics, just treating a medical condition is not the end of the treatment process. Instead a geriatrician also pays attention to functional ability, quality of life and dependence of the elderly person. Treating an elderly person is completely different from treating another adult and that is what geriatrics is all about. As such geriatrics is about treating the elderly patient as well as ensuring the caregivers know how to take care of their aging relatives. At times, it might become necessary for the geriatrician to also treat the family as well as the elderly patient.That is why geriatrics is a wide subject and a simple definition will not suffice in explaining the meaning of geriatrics.
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