Geriatric Medicine can help you – even if you’re not “old” yet
If you’re a boomer, chances are that you haven’t given much thought yet as to how geriatrics can fit into your lifestyle or how it can help you. But the truth is, you don’t have to be “old” to let geriatrics start guiding your health. When our children are young, we take them to a pediatrician because babies have specialized needs that differ from those of adults. On the other end of the spectrum, older adults often have different medical concerns than they had even in middle age. That’s where a geriatrician – a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and disability in older adults – comes into play. They study how health problems develop and progress in this population, and how these problems could be better evaluated and managed. “The typical age for a person to see a geriatrician is at 65 or older. However, if a person has few or no major medical problems, they can simply continue to see their internal medicine or family physician,” explains Mahesh Krishnamurthy, M.D., Director of Medical Education and Chief of Geriatrics at Steward Medical Group’s Easton Hospital. “The ideal person who should see a geriatrician is a person with three or more medical problems.” It comes with the territory and will happen to all of us – as we age, the number of medical problems we face increases. With this, the amount of medications we take also usually increases, along with side effects and drug interactions inside of our bodies. While the family physicians we come to know and trust can manage these issues, there are times when someone with experience in juggling multiple specialties, tests, medical records and medications can be beneficial.