What are Geriatrics?

   Everywhere people are living longer. Consequently it is estimated that before long one-third of the entire population of the United States will be 50 years old or older. In a few years more there will probably be twice as many people over 65 years of age as there are now. Because of the already great increase in the number of older people and the still greater increase coming in the future, the medical problems peculiar to the aged have become more important. This has resulted in the development of a new medical specialty called geriatrics, which deals with the medical problems of old age and which is comparable to pediatrics, the specialty dealing with children. Geriatric medicine as now defined includes all fields of medical practice as applied to people who are past the prime of life. Geriatrics may be divided into two main subjects: the medical problems associated with the process of normal aging; and the effects of disease in older people, in so far as these are different from those in younger people.