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The Elderly

             With a falling birth-rate and people living longer, it is inevitable that our community is ageing. It is no surprise that geriatric medicine, the medical care of the elderly, has quickly evolved into a major specialty.
             Aging is a highly individualized matter. There is no single measure of how "old" a person is. Aging proceeds at different rates in different people and at various rates in various systems of the same person. .
             There are several theories that account for the physical changes coming with age, but none explain adequately why these changes take place. The physical changes are mainly due to the slower replacement of worn out cells, so that the body is unable to maintain complete and optimal functioning. The brain is affected by the diminished production of its chemical communicators, decreased circulation and less accurate sensory perception, so that it takes a little longer to process new information and react to different stimuli. However, in spite of this slowing down, there is no overall loss of mental functioning or intelligence.
             Physical Changes -.
             The physical changes that accompany aging are not necessarily incapacitating, even though they may be discomforting or limiting. The body has less strength and endurance as it ages. The rate of energy production in the body cells is gradually lowered so that people tire more easily and are more sensitive to weather changes. .
             The use of eyeglasses may become necessary, even if they were not necessary earlier in life. Old people can hear low tones fairly well, but their ability to hear high tones decreases. The capacity of tissue and bone to repair itself is slowed, as is cellular growth and division. Bones become brittle and skin loses its thickness and elasticity, causing wrinkles. As brain cells die some capacity for memorization and learning is lost. Breathing becomes difficult and hardening arteries circulation to worsen and blood pressure to rise.

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