NOMS’ geriatricians are internal medicine specialists who have special knowledge of the aging process and singular skills in the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitative aspects of illness in the elderly. They see patients in the office and long-term care settings such as assisted living and retirement communities.
They are trained to diagnose conditions that often present differently in older adults; develop care plans that address the special physical and mental health care needs of older adults; communicate with appropriate providers in other areas of specialty, family members and other caregivers; and, take a patient-centered, holistic approach to maintaining older adults’ functional status, independence and best possible quality of life.
Urinary or bladder incontinence is the loss of bladder control and it ranges mild leaking to inability to make it to the toilet. It is normal but not a necessary part of aging; many treatments are available including physical therapy and lifestyle changes. There are five categories of incontinence. The mildest is urine leakage under pressure when coughing, sneezing, laughing, and lifting. This is known as stress incontinence. Another type is urge incontinence. This is when the need to urinate comes on as a sudden urge and is followed by involuntary urination. A third kind is overflow incontinence. This is frequent or steady leakage from a bladder that doesn’t empty totally. Functional incontinence is when a physical or mental impairment prevents successfully using the toilet in time. And mixed incontinence involves having two or more of these types of issues.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the lungs. Typically, those with the respiratory condition cough up thickened, discolored mucus. The condition may be either acute, lasting only a brief period, or chronic. It often stems from a cold or other respiratory infection. Acute bronchitis is very common. Chronic bronchitis is a more concerning condition, where constant inflammation is present, often due to smoking.
Chest pain may manifest in a variety of ways. It can present as an ache or a stabbing pain, burning or even crushing pressure. The pain may also transfer to the arms, neck and jaw. There many potential causes and the most serious involve the heart or lungs. Because chest pain may be life-threatening, it’s important to quickly seek medical help.
Flu and the common cold have overlapping symptoms and are often confused. Both are respiratory ailments but caused by different viruses. Typically flu symptoms are more severe. People with colds are more likely to primarily have a runny nose or nasal congestion. Colds rarely result in serious health problems, but the flu can become serious. The symptoms of flu typically include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
Delirium is generally a sudden disturbance in normal mental abilities marked by confused thinking, and decreased awareness of the environment. The onset is usually swift but the symptoms may fluctuate off and on. Factors could involve medications, severe or chronic illness, alcohol or drugs. Because the symptoms of delirium are similar to dementia, medical help should be sought.
Decreased mobility and stability may come with natural aging, but there are ways to maintain agility and prevent falls. Geriatricians are experts in these areas and can recommend, lifestyle changes, preventative measures, and treatments.
The medical community considers a fever a body temperature of 100.4 or greater. A fever is a temporary increase in body temperature commonly due to an illness the body has recognized and to which the immune system is responding. Other indicators of a fever may be sweating, chills, muscle soreness, irritability, general malaise, lethargy or weakness, and headache.
Headaches happen for a wide variety of reasons and have different sets of symptoms. There are over 150 kinds of headaches, but the most common are tension headaches, which cause mild to moderate pain and are sporadic; migraine headaches, which cause extreme throbbing pain, nausea and vomiting, and, light sensitivity. These may last for hours or days; and, cluster headaches, which are the most severe type. These are generally accompanied with intense burning or piercing pain behind or around a single eye. The term cluster refers to their tendency to happen in groups at a time.
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure refers to a condition in which, the force of a person’s blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels, is consistently too high. The main harm caused by high blood pressure is creating an increased workload of the heart and blood vessels, rendering them less efficient. Over time, the force and abrasion damage the delicate lining of the arteries.
A waxy substance found in blood, cholesterol is essential to building healthy cells, but high levels are unhealthy and promote heart disease. Elevated levels of cholesterol cause fatty deposits to develop in the blood vessels which may compromise blood flow to the arteries. This increases the chances of heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol may be genetic, but most often it’s related to lifestyle choices and can be lowered with diet, exercise and or medication.
Memory care is essential for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but individuals experiencing memory loss can still enjoy a high quality of life. There are programs and activities available to help memory care patients with cognitive abilities that also enrich life with favorite and new past times. A geriatrician should be consulted to discuss options including home care and community living.
A disease of the bones, osteoporosis occurs when the quality of bone changes, or bone mineral density and bone mass decreases. This results in compromised bone strength and increases the likelihood of broken bones. Typically, there are no symptoms, and the disease may not be discovered until a bone is broken. It is the primary cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and in older men. Fractures can occur in any bone but are most frequent the hip, vertebrae and wrist.
Sinusitis is the inflammation of the tissue that lines the sinus cavities, the hollow air spaces that surround the nose. These flare ups can range in people from occasional to chronic.
The umbrella term sleep disorder refers to conditions that affect sleep quality, timing or duration. Disruptions in sleep and sleep patterns may affect a person’s ability to properly function while they are awake. The results may range from minor issues to serious concerns. Sleep disorders can exacerbate or create other medical problems and some may also be symptoms for underlying mental health issues.
The painful, dry, scratchy feeling from a sore throat is typically caused by an infection or an environmental factor. Although uncomfortable, many resolve on their own, but if the condition persists, it may require medication like an antibiotic and medical guidance should be sought.
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital to best possible overall health. Even a small weight loss of five- to-10 percent of total body weight will probably produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and sugars.
Copyright © 2009-2021 Northern Ohio Medical Specialists all rights reserved.