Aging & Geriatrics

Introduction to Aging and Geriatrics

Aging & Geriatrics

Great improvements in medicine, public health, science, and technology have enabled today's older Americans to live longer and healthier lives than previous generations. Older adults want to remain healthy and independent at home in their communities. Society wants to minimize the health care and economic costs associated with an increasing older population. The science of aging indicates that chronic disease and disability are not inevitable. As a result, health promotion and disease prevention activities and programs are an increasing priority for older adults, their families, and the health care system.

Many people fail to make the connection between undertaking healthy behaviors today and the impact of these choices later in life. Studies indicate that healthy eating, physical activity, mental stimulation, not smoking, active social engagement, moderate use of alcohol, maintaining a safe environment, social support, and regular health care are important in maintaining he...More

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

What healthy choices should those who are aging make?

  • Choosing a doctor is one of the most important decisions anyone can make. The best time to make that decision is while you are still healthy and have time to really think about all your choices.
  • Studies show that endurance activities help prevent or delay many diseases that seem to come with age. In some cases, endurance activity can also improve chronic diseases or their symptoms.
  • You can improve your health if you move more and eat better!
  • As you grow older, you may need less energy from what you eat, but you still need just as many of the nutrients in food.
  • The Federal Government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly encourage older adults to be immunized against flu, pneumococcal disease, tetanus and diphtheria, and chickenpox, as well as measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • Sunlight is a major cause of the skin changes we think of as aging — changes such as wrinkles, dryness, and age spots.

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What medical issues can those who are aging face?

  • Age can bring changes that affect your eyesight.
  • About one-third of Americans older than age 60 and about half the people who are 85 and older have hearing loss. Whether a hearing loss is small (missing certain sounds) or large (being profoundly deaf), it is a serious concern.
  • Menopause is the time around the age of 51 when your body makes much less of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and you stop having periods, which can cause troublesome symptoms for some women.
  • The risk of osteoporosis grows as you get older. Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, and 8 million of them are women.
  • Prostate problems are common in men age 50 and older. There are many different kinds of prostate problems and treatments vary but prostate problems can often be treated without affecting sexual function.
  • Loss of bladder control is called urinary incontinence and at least 1 in 10 people age 65 or older has this problem.
  • In order to meet the criteria for an Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, a person's cognitive deficits must cause significant impairment in occupational and/or social functioning.

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What mental health issues can those who are aging face?

  • Because the aging process affects how the body handles alcohol, the same amount of alcohol can have a greater effect as a person grows older. Over time, someone whose drinking habits haven’t changed may find she or he has a problem.
  • There are many reasons why depression in older people is often missed or untreated. The good news is that people who are depressed often feel better with the right treatment.

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News Articles

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    Guidelines say therapy should begin after top number in reading meets or exceeds 150 mmHG, not 140. More...

  • Common Viruses a Deadly Threat at Nursing Homes

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  • Long-Term Disability Risk Up for Seniors Who Visit ER

    Seniors treated in an emergency department for illness or injury are more likely to become disabled and less physically agile over the next six months, according to a study published online Jan. 6 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. More...

  • Hour-Long Nap May Boost Brain Function in Older Adults

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  • Seniors' Health Can Tumble After ER Visit

    Disability and loss of agility more likely six months after treatment, study finds. More...

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    • Further Evidence Mediterranean Diet Ups Brain Health in Seniors

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    • Does Living Near Major Roads Boost Dementia Risk?

      Study couldn't prove cause-and-effect, but risk rose as proximity to traffic increased, researchers report. More...

    • Low Vitamin D Linked to Incident Frailty in Older Women

      For older women, low vitamin D is associated with incident frailty, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Iron Deficiency Anemia Ups Risk of Hearing Loss in U.S. Adults

      Among U.S. adults, hearing loss is associated with iron deficiency anemia, according to a study published online Dec. 29 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. More...

    • Chair Yoga Helps Older Adults Manage Osteoarthritis Pain

      Chair yoga may produce sustained improvements in pain interference among older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis, according to a study published online Dec. 23 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Health Tip: Warding Off Wrinkles

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    • Post-Lunch Napping Tied to Better Cognition in Elderly

      Moderate post-lunch napping is tied to better cognition in older adults, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Impact of Complex Medication Regimen in Elderly Unclear

      The association between medication regimen complexity and either treatment nonadherence or hospitalization in elderly patients remains unclear, according to a review published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Six Things PCPs Need to Know About Glaucoma

      Primary care physicians are in a position to help with glaucoma diagnosis and management, according to an article published in the Ophthalmology Times. More...

    • Hospitalized Seniors Do Slightly Better Treated by Female Doctors

      Older hospital patients treated by female internists have a slightly lower mortality rate than those treated by male internists, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in JAMA Internal Medicine. More...

    • Dysglycemia Affects Brain Structure, Cognition in Seniors

      In older adults, dysglycemia is associated with brain structure and cognition, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Anti-Aging Process Rejuvenates Lab Mice: Study

      Researchers said they used gene manipulation to 'turn back the clock'. More...

    • Fewer Americans Under 70 Have Hearing Loss, Study Finds

      It's still common, but noise-safety rules and changing smoking patterns may have helped, researcher says. More...

    • Prices Skyrocket on Drugs Widely Used by Seniors: Report

      Cost of brand-name meds for chronic conditions rose nearly 130 times faster than inflation rate. More...

    • The Happy Get Lucky in Their Older Years

      Study of seniors links enjoyment of life to lower risk of death. More...

    • Where You Live May Determine How You Die

      Breaking down mortality data by county, most pressing local health problems were pinpointed, study finds. More...

    • Test Predicting Alzheimer's Would Be Welcome, Survey Finds

      3 out of 4 seniors said said they'd want to know. More...

    • Age-Related Cataract Linked to Depressive Symptoms

      Age-related cataract is associated with increased odds of depressive symptoms, according to a study published in the December issue of Optometry and Vision Science. More...

    • Heart Rate Recovery Could Predict Mortality in Older Adults

      Orthostatic heart rate recovery predicts mortality in adults aged 50 and older, according to a study published online recently in Circulation Research. More...

    • Optimism May Propel Women to a Longer Life

      Upbeat outlook linked to lower risk of dying from cancer, heart disease and other causes, study says. More...

    • Heart Rate Change When Standing Up Might Predict Older Adult's Death Risk

      People with slower heart rate recovery had higher odds of dying within 4 years, study found. More...

    • Baby Boomers Going to Pot

      Americans 65-plus more than doubled their use of marijuana over 8 years, study finds. More...

    • Health Tip: Reduce Your Risk of Hip Fracture

      Here's how to protect yourself More...

    • <900 Steps Tied to Functional Decline in Hospitalized Seniors

      For older adults with acute hospitalization, walking fewer than 900 steps per day is associated with hospitalization-associated functional decline, according to a research letter published online Dec. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine. More...

    • Aerobic Exercise May Help Guard Against Dementia

      Study found seniors with mild cognitive impairment saw gains in thinking, memory skills after six months of workouts. More...

    • Having Trouble Hearing? Maybe It's Not Your Ears

      Part of the problem for seniors might lie in the brain, research suggests. More...

    • Older Fallers Have Often Been Administered High-Risk Drugs

      Older fallers have often been administered high-risk medications, frequently at higher-than-recommended doses, according to a study published online Nov. 28 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • 3 Keys to Cutting Your Risk of Heart Failure

      Guarding against obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes at middle age may slash risk, study finds. More...

    • Antidepressants + Exercise Beneficial in Late-Life Depression

      For older adults with late-life major depression, the combination of antidepressants and physical exercise seems beneficial, especially for individuals with specific characteristics, according to research published online Nov. 21 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Gender Gap in Life Expectancy Persists

      Genetics and riskier behaviors may help explain the difference, researchers say. More...

    • Some Elderly With Alzheimer's Brain Plaques Stay Sharp

      Study finding raises question of whether something protected their brains. More...

    • About Half of Seniors in ER Willing to Use Tablet Computers

      About half of older adults in the emergency department are willing to provide information using a tablet computer, but few can do so without needing assistance, according to a study published online Nov. 2 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Could Loneliness Be an Early Sign of Alzheimer's?

      People with 'biomarkers' for the brain disease were more likely to feel socially detached, study finds. More...

    • Benefit of Exercise on Resting Pulse Rate in Seniors Unclear

      A long-term moderate-intensity physical activity intervention may reduce resting pulse rate among older adults, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • 1 in 4 Seniors Doesn't Discuss End-of-Life Care

      Finding suggests efforts to encourage more planning aren't working, researcher says. More...

    • Less Than Half of Older Hip Fracture Patients Fully Recover: Study

      Geriatric experts cite need to set realistic expectations for the injured and their families. More...

    • New Method May Provide Better Rx for Seniors' Ankle Fractures

      A new type of plaster cast might help older adults avoid surgery for unstable ankle fractures, according to research published in the Oct. 11 issue the Journal of the American Medical Association. More...

    • Clots May Be the Cause of Fainting in Some Elderly

      But doctors don't often suspect pulmonary embolism, researchers say. More...

    • Better Way to Treat Seniors' Ankle Fractures?

      'Close contact casting' might help many avoid surgery, study suggests. More...

    • Volunteering May Help Prevent Cognitive Impairment in Seniors

      Older adults who volunteer have lower risk of developing cognitive impairment, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Healthy Living May Mean More Healthy Years for Seniors

      Study found they enjoyed longer spans without disability even as they lived longer. More...

    • New Clues to Age-Related Hearing Loss

      Older people's brains have a harder time processing speech, researchers suggest. More...

    • U.S. Life Expectancy Lags Behind Other Wealthy Nations

      Diabetes, drugs and guns contribute to disappointing statistics in new global report. More...

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