Have you ever wondered what a geriatrician is and exactly what they do? Not only that, but why would it be important to see a geriatrician? In a recent webcast, Dr. Robert Parker, Chief of Geriatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, describes the specialty in straightforward terms.
Geriatricians focus on the unique needs of older adults. Older adults metabolize medicine differently and have a different set of diseases and syndromes than younger adults. Often they may be seeing several different doctors: an eye doctor, a cardiologist, a prostate specialist, etc. Sometimes patients arrive at the doctor’s office with a bag of medicine and complaints that they’re feeling worse in spite of everything they’re doing. According to Dr. Parker, each specialist may be doing the right thing for that organ, but a geriatrician can look at the big picture and help coordinate and prioritize care.
One important issue geriatricians consider is frailty in older adults. Frailty often occurs after an illness or hospitalization. Signs of frailty include:
- unintentional weight loss of 10 pounds in the past year
- poor endurance and energy
- low physical activity
- slow walking speed
- low grip strength
If you’d like to learn more about geriatricians, visit mmLearn.org and view the Ask The Geriatrician series, or click here to see Dr. Parker's Geriatricians overview.
The Ask the Geriatrician series was developed to address the shortage of geriatricians available to meet with older adults and their caregivers in the United States. Geriatricians specialize in preventing and treating health issues in adults ages 65 plus, yet many people never have the opportunity to speak with one. Monthly webcasts are shown live and then on demand.