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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

  • What's the Right Age to Test for Osteoporosis?

    Osteoporosis is a threat to many women, especially after menopause. But the lead up to weak, brittle bones can start much earlier in life. More...

  • Active Brain and Body Are Powerful Weapons Against Dementia

    You need to exercise both your brain and your body during middle age to guard against dementia as you grow older, a new, long-term study suggests. More...

  • Being Socially Active Helps Older Folk Age Well

    Interacting with lots of different people may help you live longer and healthier, a new study suggests. More...

  • Protect Your Aging Eyes From Macular Degeneration

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an incurable eye disease that affects millions of older Americans, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk, a vision expert says. More...

  • Osteoporosis Often Missed in Elderly Men

    Osteoporosis is typically thought of as a woman's disease, but elderly men are also prone to bone loss -- even though they often aren't treated for it, a new study finds. More...

  • 45 More
    • Guys, Can You Do 40 Push-Ups? Heart-Healthy Life May Be Yours

      If you're a 40-something guy and can't do 40 push-ups in a row, maybe it's time to do something about it. More...

    • How Inactivity and Junk Food Can Harm Your Brain

      If you're in your 50s and your typical day involves sitting at a desk followed by lounging on the sofa and succumbing to late-night snacks, the long-term toll on your mind might be greater than you think. More...

    • Are Hearing Loss, Mental Decline Related?

      Dementia is hard to predict, but hearing loss might signal a higher risk, a new study suggests. More...

    • Health Tip: Anti-Aging Skin Suggestions

      As we age, so does our skin. With that comes wrinkles and age spots. More...

    • What Makes Seniors Feel in Control?

      What determines how much control seniors feel they have over their lives? New research offers some answers. More...

    • Better Heart Care Saves U.S. Billions a Year, Study Finds

      Efforts to keep seniors heart-healthy have saved tens of billions of dollars in U.S. health care costs in recent years, researchers say. More...

    • Women's Brains May Be More 'Age-Resistant' Than Men's

      On average, women's brains appear to be about three years younger than those of men at the same chronological age. This could provide one clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men, the authors noted. More...

    • What Illness Lands the Most Seniors in the ER?

      For seniors who often find themselves in the ER, complications from diabetes is the most common culprit, new research shows. More...

    • A Prescription for Feeling Young Forever

      You know about the value of exercise for heart health and for staying strong and independent as you age. There's also proof that exercise keeps your body young physically as well as mentally. More...

    • Protecting Seniors From Scammers

      It seems as though every day brings warnings about phone and internet scammers, with older Americans being particularly vulnerable. More...

    • Frailty a Risk Factor for Dementia

      Frailty is associated with a higher risk of both Alzheimer's disease and its crippling symptoms, a new study shows. More...

    • Stem Cell Therapy Shows Early Promise Against Macular Degeneration

      Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in seniors, and existing treatments are few. More...

    • Keep Moving to Keep Brain Sharp in Old Age

      Staying active in old age may help preserve your memory and thinking skills, a new study suggests. More...

    • Want to Live Longer? Just Sit a Bit Less Each Day

      Researchers say even a few extra minutes off the sofa each day can add years to your life span. More...

    • What Makes for a Good Nursing Home?

      Families of nursing home residents are more likely to be satisfied with facilities that have higher staffing levels and are nonprofits, a new study finds. More...

    • Hearing Aid Upkeep Often Out of Reach for the Poor

      If you're poor, you'll likely have less success with your hearing aid, a new study finds. More...

    • 'Meaningful' Activities May Mean Healthier Old Age

      Older adults who find meaning in their daily activities may remain in better health as they age, a new study suggests. More...

    • Listen Up! Hearing Loss Tied to Late-Life Depression

      Hearing loss among seniors is not always recognized and treated, but if it were it might help head off late-life depression, a new report suggests. More...

    • As You Age, Alcohol May Be Harder to Handle

      Seniors may be more vulnerable to alcoholism, a psychologist warns. More...

    • Many Middle-Aged Americans Worried About Health Insurance: Poll

      Many middle-aged folks nearing retirement have serious concerns about their health insurance coverage, a new survey shows. More...

    • Staying Young at Heart

      It may be more than mind over matter -- feeling younger could lead to better health habits that can make people feel and be healthier. More...

    • How Seniors Can Prevent Hypothermia This Winter

      In winter, older adults are at higher risk of losing body heat and slipping into potentially fatal hypothermia, U.S. health officials warn. More...

    • Head to the Movies, Museums to Keep Depression at Bay

      Movies, the theater and other cultural events can help you fight the blues as you age. More...

    • Just 6 Months of Walking May Boost Aging Brains

      Walking and other types of moderate exercise may help turn back the clock for older adults who are losing their mental sharpness, a new clinical trial finds. More...

    • Heart Surgery Won't Cause Brain Decline, New Study Says

      Major heart surgery does not cause significant memory decline in older patients, a new study finds. More...

    • How Puzzles, Games Might Help Your Aging Brain

      Those Sunday crossword puzzles may not prevent the aging brain from slowing down -- but they might protect it in a different way, a new study suggests. More...

    • Health Tip: What Causes Memory Loss?

      The agency says anything that affects the processes of thinking and learning can affect memory. More...

    • Saunas Seem to Do a Heart Good, Research Shows

      Love your time in the local sauna? Your heart may love it, too. More...

    • Doctors' Office Dementia Tests Are Often Wrong: Study

      Fast tests designed to help primary care doctors rapidly spot dementia in their elderly patients often get it wrong, a new British report contends. More...

    • Climate Change Ups Heat Deaths, Especially Among Elderly: Report

      Hotter temperatures threaten the elderly and other vulnerable people with heat stress, and heart and kidney disease, according to an international team of experts. More...

    • Health Tip: Avoid the Appearance of Aging

      That doesn't mean you can't take steps to avoid becoming too wrinkled, the American Academy of Dermatology says. More...

    • Only Endurance Exercise May Slow Aging

      Running, swimming, cycling and other types of endurance exercise can slow cellular aging, but strength training may not, a new study suggests. More...

    • Seniors on Multiple Meds a Driving Hazard

      Many older drivers take medications known to raise the risk of a crash, a new study shows. More...

    • Health Surrogates Often in Dark About Loved One's Wishes

      Few people entrusted with making difficult health care decisions for older loved ones actually know what the patient would want, a new study contends. More...

    • Health Tip: Stay Active During Winter

      As you age, it can be difficult to stay active, particularly during winter. The National Institute on Aging urges people to stay active all year long. More...

    • Health Tip: Should You Be Worried About Memory Loss?

      It's taking you longer than it once did to learn a new task. Or you've forgotten about today's doctor's appointment. Should you be worried? More...

    • Can Protein Keep You Healthier Longer?

      Eating more protein may reduce seniors' risk of disability and help them remain independent longer, a new British study suggests. More...

    • Health Tip: How Bad is Your Hearing Loss?

      You've had a professional diagnose your hearing loss. So how bad is it? More...

    • Ageism Costs Billions in Health Care Dollars

      Prejudice directed at older people results in $63 billion in excess health costs each year in the United States, a new study claims. More...

    • Must Blood Pressure Rise Wth Age? Remote Tribes Hold Clues

      Contrary to common belief, blood pressure doesn't have to rise as you age, a study of two remote South American tribes suggests. More...

    • Change Within the Eye May Be Early Warning for Macular Degeneration

      The investigators discovered that calcifications in the retina -- the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye -- raise the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). More...

    • Aging Face, Uneven Features?

      New research shows that differences between the two sides of your face increase with age. More...

    • Untreated Hearing Loss Can Be Costly for Seniors

      Having hearing loss and not knowing it might translate into higher medical bills and other health problems for many seniors, two new studies suggest. More...

    • Worst Bedsores Still Plague U.S. Hospital Patients: Study

      Despite years of attention to the problem, U.S. hospitals have made little headway in preventing severe cases of bedsores among older Americans, a new study shows. More...

    • Think Genes Dictate Your Life Span? Think Again

      Your life partner has a much greater influence on your longevity than the genes you inherited from your family, according to a new analysis of the family trees of more than 400 million people. More...

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