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Some of the most common geriatric problems include declining mental and physical health. Specifically, issues like arthritis, heart disease, anxiety and depression tend to affect elderly people to a greater degree than they do other people. Several geriatric problems can be corrected or cured by medical and mental health professionals while progressive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cannot be cured.
Doctors specializing in geriatric medicine regularly treat a variety of health issues that affect older adults. Some doctors also help patients avoid certain geriatric health problems, such as stroke and organ failure, by helping patients make lifestyle changes, which include exercise, a healthy diet and eliminating bad habits like smoking and alcohol abuse. Without attention and treatment, common geriatric problems like diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension can become life-threatening for geriatric patients.
Certain physical transformations are a natural part of the human aging process. Some of these changes include a decline in normal vision, changes in height and changes in weight. A few of these can become quite frustrating, but are not considered to be a serious health threat to seniors.
Common geriatric problems such as those affecting a person’s balance, mobility and speech can cause depression and anxiety. Other geriatric problems, such as a loss of taste, hearing and smell can be potentially dangerous, particularly for older adults who live alone. Declines in these important senses often leave older adults vulnerable to accidents and other injuries.
Individuals specializing in geriatric mental health have also discovered that depression is a major issue among elderly populations. While many people assume that persistent sadness, pessimism and a loss of interest in normal activities is a normal part of aging, research has revealed that these symptoms are more likely due to depression. Studies conducted on geriatric health care emphasize the need for mental health treatment when aging adults begin to show symptoms of depression, which also include unintended weight loss, a decline in grooming habits and an inability to experience joy or pleasure.
Other geriatric problems, such as hormonal changes, sleep disorders, skin changes and nutritional deficiencies, may require medical intervention and many are addressed by changes in diet and exercise. More serious problems, such as prostate cancer, liver failure, kidney failure and heart disease, may even require surgical treatment. Mild geriatric problems such as dry mouth, vision problems and sexual dysfunctions are often treatable with medication and are not considered to be life-threatening.