What is a geriatrician?
If you are getting older and having more health problems you may want to consider seeing a doctor who specializes in geriatric medicine. A geriatrician is a physician who has completed a residency in either Internal Medicine or Family Medicine with an additional one or two year fellowship training in the medical, social, and psychological issues that concern older adults. This specialty is increasing in importance as the population ages and that aging population lives longer. People over the age of 85 are the fast growing segment of the population. It is no longer a rarity for people to live to be one hundred.
A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in care for people 65 and older. Just as a pediatrician tends to the needs of a child, a geriatrician cares for the special needs of changing seniors. Geriatricians approach each patient’s needs individually, and possess the knowledge and expertise needed to accommodate seniors.
They are typically board certified in Internal Medicine and have additional training in areas pertaining to elder care. They can better address issues such as memory loss, arthritis, osteoporosis, mobility and Alzheimer’s disease. Clearly, geriatrics includes more than treating physical problems; it means recognizing how health conditions affect seniors socially and emotionally, and vice versa.
Seniors often associate age with disease. Yet, aging does not cause diseases. While many seniors believe that the reason they are not feeling well is because they are getting older, this is not always the case. The problems they are experiencing may be related to an illness or injury not at all caused by age. This is why it is important to seek the helpful knowledge of a geriatrician.
This type of physician practice far exceeds simply diagnosing a physical problem and treating it. Geriatricians collect information about patients’ lifestyles, community, family, and their entire medical history.
The most appropriate term for a physician who specializes in the care of older adults is geriatrician, not gerontologist.
Dr V Susarla is board certified in geriatric medicine for over 15 years. He just obtained his recertification in 2013.