As we get older, our health needs tend to change — sometimes drastically. Here’s how your primary care provider can customize your plan of care, so you can continue to enjoy optimal health as you age.

Everyone knows kids have special medical considerations as they grow and develop. But older people have unique needs, too — and that’s where geriatric care can help. 

A family care doctor is trained to address the needs of all family members at every stage of life. In fact, with access to your complete medical history, your primary care physician is uniquely positioned to provide care that’s customized specifically for your health needs, your medical risks, and your lifestyle.

As a leading family physician practice with offices in Gaithersburg, Bowie, Germantown, Rockville, and Columbia, Maryland, Doctors First PC offers complete geriatric care aimed at helping patients stay healthy as they age. If you’ve been wondering about how geriatric care can help you, here’s what our team wants you to know.

Our bodies as we age

Everyone knows that the body changes a lot as we get older. In childhood, those changes are rapid and very apparent. But as we get older, our bodies change in different ways — ways that aren’t always so easy to detect.

Some of those changes dramatically increase the risk of developing a chronic disease. In fact, most older Americans — nearly 95% — have at least one chronic medical condition, and about 80% have more than one. 

Some of the most common chronic medical issues affecting older women and men include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing or vision problems
  • Balance issues
  • Degenerative spine problems
  • Lung or respiratory problems
  • Cognitive issues
  • Kidney disease
  • Dementia

The CDC lists many of these as “the nation’s leading drivers of illness, disability, death …” 

Many people with chronic medical problems take multiple medications to manage those issues, sometimes leading to dangerous drug interactions. All in all, managing age-related health issues can be challenging, and having a skilled medical provider on your side means you have the support you need to meet these challenges and maintain good health.

Geriatric care with our team

Having regular checkups with a primary care doctor who’s skilled in geriatrics is a great way to spot issues in their early stages, before they have a chance to develop into something more serious. In geriatric primary care, your doctor performs many of the same exams and evaluations as you’ve always had, but with an understanding of how aging affects your health and your health risks.

Regular checkups allow your doctor a chance to update your medical history while looking for subtle changes that could indicate an underlying problem. During your visit, the doctor asks about current symptoms or concerns, ordering lab work or other tests to help with diagnosis and treatment. 

Your doctor also recommends lifestyle changes that can help you stay healthy, along with important medical screenings recommended for older men and women. And of course, we also help you decide about immunizations that can help you stay healthy, including shingles and pneumonia vaccines designed specifically for older populations.

If you have one or more chronic diseases, we also work closely with you to develop a management plan based specifically on your needs. Regular office visits enable us to make adjustments to your care plan, so you can feel confident your needs are always being met.

Optimal health at every age

Bottom line: No matter what age you are, your primary care doctor has the skills and experience to help you stay healthy. To schedule a checkup with a member of our team, book an appointment online or over the phone at Doctors First today.