What is Geriatrics?

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What is Geriatrics?
Geriatrics is a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment and management of illnesses among elderly patients. Health promotion is the main goal of this medical sub-specialty and this is done by means of treatment and prevention of diseases that affect old people or the elderly. Doctors who practice in this field of medicine are called geriatricians and only those who are licensed to take this sub-specialty are allowed to handle and/or manage elderly patients. Specifically, people who want to become geriatricians must be board certified in either Internal or Family medicine and must have the necessary trainings and certifications.

Geriatrics is considered a unique sub-specialty in medicine since elderly people have unique medical needs. It is common for elderly people to have multiple illnesses occurring at the same time of their lives. And because of this, they need a more intensive treatment and management approach. Whereas a normal adult may only present with a specific ailment on a particular body part, a typical elderly patient may present with a variety of symptoms that point to the different organ systems in the body. It is all but common that an elderly patient may complain about one part of the body and then later be diagnosed with other illnesses after the medical check-up.

Treatment and management of the various illnesses involved in geriatrics is also more complicated than in typical adults. As most elderly patients are under medication for other illnesses, doctors have to find special medication to avoid drug interactions and side effects to treat a specific condition. The medication itself adds complexity to the already complex medical condition of elderly patients. There is also the issue of accessibility to various treatment options and facilities as many elderly patients are too weak to be able to handle some forms of medical management and treatment.

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