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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

  • Here's a Part of Aging That Really Stinks

    Unpleasant phantom odors haunt many older Americans, a new study finds. More...

  • Health Tip: Are You at Risk for Macular Degeneration?

    Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among people 50 and older, the U.S. National Eye Institute says. More...

  • Here's What Predicts a Woman's Odds of Living Till 90

    Women whose mothers lived a long and healthy life have a good chance of doing the same, a new study suggests. More...

  • Here's What Makes Seniors Feel and Act Younger

    When older adults feel more control of their lives and get more exercise, they feel younger -- and that improves their thinking, overall quality of life and longevity, the studies say. More...

  • Have Glaucoma and Need to Switch Eye Docs? Here's What You Need to Do

    If you have glaucoma and need to find a new ophthalmologist, creating a personal data portfolio will help ensure a smooth transition in the care of your eye disease. More...

  • 45 More
    • Just 2 Weeks' Inactivity Can Trigger Diabetes in at-Risk Seniors: Study

      A short stretch of inactivity can unlease diabetes in older adults at risk for the blood-sugar disease, a new study finds. More...

    • Why Seniors Can Struggle With Swallowing

      If you have developed swallowing problems as you age, a new study may explain why. More...

    • Most Seniors Uninformed on Opioid Use

      A new survey suggests health care professionals are giving short shrift to their older patients when it comes to explaining the risks of opioid painkillers. More...

    • Get Dizzy Upon Standing? It Could Be Sign of Dementia Risk

      Are you a middle-aged person who tends to feel a little woozy when you stand up? More...

    • Many Americans With Dementia Don't Know They Have It: Study

      Many older Americans with dementia don't know they have the disease, a new study indicates. More...

    • How Common Is Dementia Among LGBT Seniors?

      Dementia strikes about one in 13 lesbian, gay or bisexual seniors in the United States, a new study finds. More...

    • Health Tip: Help Prevent Bone Fractures

      More than 53 million people in the United States have osteoporosis or are at higher risk due to low bone mass, the U.S. National Institutes of Health says. More...

    • 1 in 9 U.S. Adults Over 45 Reports Memory Problems

      If you're middle-aged and you think you're losing your memory, you're not alone, a new U.S. government report shows. More...

    • Scientists Target Cellular 'Fountain of Youth' to Extend Mouse Life Span

      Interested in turning back the hands of time and living a longer, healthier life? Scientists say their work with aged mice might have gotten a small step closer to that goal. More...

    • Medical Marijuana a Hit With Seniors

      Seniors are giving rave reviews for medical marijuana. More...

    • Cost Keeps Many Americans From Getting Hearing Aids

      A hearing aid can set you back as much as $7,000, and that's the main reason more Americans don't use one, a new study finds. More...

    • As the Eyes Go, So May the Mind

      A new study sheds light on how vision loss is linked to mental decline in seniors. More...

    • Cataract Surgery Tied to Fewer Car Crashes for Seniors

      Data on more than half a million Canadian seniors shows that traffic accident rates fall after drivers undergo a needed cataract surgery. More...

    • Does Human Life Span Really Have a Limit?

      The limits of human existence might not be as limited as we have long thought. More...

    • Fit at Midlife May Mean Healthier Brain, Stronger Heart Later

      If you're fit in middle age, you might be guarding against not only depression as a senior, but also dying from heart disease if you do develop depression, a new study suggests. More...

    • Health Tip: Risk Factors for Male Osteoporosis

      While people typically associate osteoporosis with women, men aren't immune. More...

    • AHA: Aging LGBT Seniors a 'Major Public Health Issue'

      LGBT people of all ages have experienced health inequalities, but researchers have begun to delve into the consequences of a lifetime of that inequity -- and what happens to their health as they grow older. More...

    • Health Tip: Recognizing Hearing Loss

      About one-third of people aged 65 to 74 cannot hear as well as they should, and nearly half of people 75 and older have difficulty hearing, the National Institute on Aging says. More...

    • Seniors Slow to Embrace Online Access to Doctors

      Many doctors have internet portals to help patients manage their care. But that does not mean older folks will use them. More...

    • How Much Exercise Helps the Aging Brain?

      It is well-known that exercise benefits the brain as well as the heart and muscles, but new research pinpoints just how much -- and what types -- of exercise may promote thinking skills as you age. More...

    • "Markers" of Alzheimers Do Not Doom You to Dementia

      Even if you discover that you have the first biological signs of Alzheimers, you are not doomed to develop the crippling dementia, a new study suggests. More...

    • Health Tip: Safe Driving Tips for Older Adults

      Driving can become more difficult as people age and their eyesight changes. More...

    • Even at 'Safe' Levels, Air Pollution Puts Seniors at Risk

      For older people, breathing in dirty air puts them at risk of being hospitalized with a dangerous respiratory disease, a new study suggests. More...

    • Start Exercising to Cut Your Heart Failure Risk

      Attention, middle-age couch potatoes: There's still time to lower your risk of heart failure, a condition affecting more than 5 million Americans. More...

    • Sleep Apnea Rarely Investigated in Older Adults

      A high risk of obstructive sleep apnea is common among older adults but is seldom investigated, though when it is investigated, it is almost always confirmed, according to a study published online May 9 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • New Medicare Perk: Diabetes Prevention

      Millions of U.S. seniors can now take part in a Medicare program designed to prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes. More...

    • Deadly Falls On the Rise Among U.S. Seniors

      The number of seniors dying from falls has increased dramatically over the past decade, U.S. health officials reported Friday. More...

    • Depression May Dampen Memory

      Depression may do more than darken your mood, with new research suggesting it might also sap your memory. More...

    • Psychological Therapies May Help Older Adults With Chronic Pain

      For older adults with chronic pain, psychological interventions have small benefits, including reducing pain and catastrophizing beliefs, according to a review published online May 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine. More...

    • Ditch the Golf Cart. Your Aging Knees Won't Mind

      Golfers with knee arthritis should park the golf cart and walk the links instead, researchers say. More...

    • Hearing Aid Use Linked to Beneficial Health Outcomes

      Use of hearing aids is associated with beneficial health outcomes, including reduced probability of emergency department visits and hospitalizations and reduced number of nights in the hospital, according to a study published online April 26 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. More...

    • Take These 5 Steps to Live 10 Extra Years

      Americans could add years to their lives with just a handful of healthy habits, a large, new study suggests. More...

    • After Age 50, Yearly Eye Checks May Catch Common Cause of Vision Loss

      As the U.S. population ages, vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration is likely to increase, an ophthalmologist says. More...

    • Hearing Aids May Help Keep Seniors Out of the Hospital

      Hearing aids may mean fewer visits to the hospital for seniors, a new study suggests. More...

    • One in Four Adults Report Having Arthritis

      Between 1999 and 2014, nearly one-quarter of American adults reported having arthritis, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Public Health. More...

    • Aging Brains Gain More From Exercise With Good Hydration

      Older adults, drink up. You need plenty of water during exercise so your brain gets the full benefits of working out, researchers say. More...

    • Annual Visits May Not Increase Cognitive Impairment Detection

      Medicare Annual Wellness Visits do not appear to substantially increase the detection of cognitive impairment in older adults, according to a study published online April 2 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. More...

    • Health Tip: Screening for Cancer in Older Adults

      Though a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help prevent cancer as you age, you shouldn't ignore cancer screening tests, the American Cancer Society warns. More...

    • Healthy Diet, Healthy Eyes

      Healthy eating may help preserve your vision as you age, eye experts say. More...

    • USPSTF: Exercise Interventions Prevent Falls in Seniors

      The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concludes that exercise interventions may be beneficial for preventing falls in older adults; however, the evidence is insufficient to weigh the benefits and harms of vitamin D, calcium, and combined supplementation. These findings form the basis of two recommendation statements published April 17 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. More...

    • Exercise In, Vitamin D Out for Preventing Falls: U.S. Panel

      With aging often comes worry about falls and the bone fractures they cause. Now, a panel of U.S. experts has new advice on what helps and what doesn't when it comes to staying upright. More...

    • Negative Fateful Life Events Linked to Advanced Brain Aging

      Negative fateful life events in midlife are associated with advanced predicted brain aging, according to a study published in the July issue of Neurobiology of Aging. More...

    • Health Tip: Improve Aging Skin

      Aging skin, like death and taxes, is unavoidable. But you can slow down the process and keep your skin looking younger. More...

    • Got Osteoarthritis? Get Moving

      Is arthritis pain getting in the way of your fitness plans? That need not be the case. More...

    • Sleepless Nights Show Ties To Alzheimer's Risk

      Even one night of lost sleep may cause the brain to fill with protein chunks that have long been linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease, a new study warns. More...

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