Geriartrics and Homeopathy
Let our loved ones live long without getting old !!!
Sitting at a table reading newspaper with spectacle over eyes, sipping over a cup of tea, is usually what comes to mind when we think about an old man. Free from work, Playing with grandchildren can make old age free and a leisure time. But old age health concerns may deprive us of this leisure.
But we wish that our loved ones maintain a healthy life and do all the actitives they wish to do and live a healthy, wealthy and active life.
Old age is well known medically as the geriatric age. Derived from the Greek word ‘Geron’ means ‘old man’ and ‘iatros’ means Healer, Geriatrics is the branch of medicine speciality focusing on health care of the old people. Medically there is no specific definition of old age, indian government mentiones old age or senior citizens as those above 60 years of age.
With increasing global development and technological advancement every year world has come from the era of bullock carts to bullet trains, advanced medical facilities and technology have lead to growth in medical facilities thus increasing the human lifespan. From 7.4% in 2001 to 8.6 % in 2011, the total population under geriatric age group is estimated to rise to 19% by 2050. Thus knowing about and managing effectively the health problems of the aged, is a prority today.
Some of the common old age problems include:
I. Problems due to Ageing. Eg Visual impairments (Senile cataract, Glaucoma), Locomotor disorders (Bony changes affecting mobility), Hearing loss (Due to nerve deafness), Nervous System (Failure of special senses), Genito urinary disorders, Neurological disorders. Atimely check after the age of 45 can help detect these disorders at an early age and control the further deterioration.
II. Problems due to long term illness. These may include:
Accidents: Pathological fractures Bones become fragile due to osteoporosis .
Prevention and Solution :
Calcium supplements , a diet rich in calcium, timely check of calcium levels and related electrolyes , bone density is a way to keep these things at bay.
Also needed is good exercise schedule , balanced diet and treatment as soon as any symptoms develop .
Diabetes: It is lifestyle disorder which due to faulty carbohydrate metabolism. NIDDM is on rise in India due to lifestyle pattern changes
Prevention and Solution:
Routine check up esp. In cases where there is family history ,obesity, sedentary life style.
And starting treatment and change in lifestyle are important factors to be taken care of.
Respiratory disorders: Respiratory illness like chronic bronchitis asthma and emphysema.
Prevention and Solution:
Taking care of your health whenever change of season sets in, avoid sudden exposure. Taking warm foods and covering oneself whenever there is a dip in temperature. avoid contact with infected persons when your immunity levels are low and maintain distance to avoid catching infections. Taking home remedies at the very start of symptoms and seeking medical advise when not better or not responding to home remedies.
Genitourinary system: Enlargement of prostate, dysuria nocturia frequent urgency of micturition.
Prevention and Solution:
Take medication for prostate as symtoms are vey nagging and can overall disturb the sleep and hence life of patient. Use diapers at night.
Degenerative diseases of heart and blood vessels
Prevention and Solution:
Routine check up is the key to catch these problems on time and start treatment
Malignancy: Incidence of cancer rises after age of 40 years (a) e.g. Ca prostate (after age of 65 years)
III. Psychological illnesses affecting in old age include:
Mental Changes: Impaired Memory, rigidity of outlook, dislike of change. Reduced income leading to fall in standards of living .
If you see any of these symtoms in yourself or someone living with you, talk to someone. Talk to your friend, talk to your spouse , talk to your child( if adult ) ,seek help from a nurse or doctor or community helper. Talking helps in recognition of the problem and then treatment can be sought. Take counselling if needed but don’t keep to yourself , talk and share.
Sexual problems: Cessation of reproduction by woman and diminution of sexual activity in men may cause physical and emotional disturbances. Person may land-up into irritability, jealousy and feeling of worthlessness.
Prevention and Solution:
Talk to your attending physician and share your thoughts with your spouse.
Emotional Problems are result of social mal-adjustment: The degree of adaptation to the fact of ageing is not easy. Failure to adapt can result in bitterness, inner withdrawal, depression, weariness of life and even suicidal thoughts.
Prevention and Solution:
One has to accept that age is an important aspect of life and is going to come. We need to learn to relax , let things be and accept that we have to find happiness ourlseives. Children will get busy , they might not have that much time as we gave to them but that is life. Be happy, find things which interest you, get involved in activities nearby. Spend time in some creative involvement. Keep yourself busy. For family members also its important to see elders are given some quality time, their needs are attended to , they are involved in little things in house and any variation in health is attended to. If you see any signs of feeling low, irritability , depression it should be attended to with love and care and seek medical help when needed.
Effect of aging on various organs of body
|ORGAN / SYSTEM||DISEASE MANIFESTATIONS|
Decreased Serum electrolytes
Osteoporosis, B12 Deficiency
|Renal||© Decreased Serum Creatinine
© Decreased Na+
|Musculoskeletal||Functional impairment Hip fracture|
|Nervous system||Dementia, Delirium, Depression
Role of Homoeopathy in Old Age
Homoeopathy is a revolutionary, natural medical science and a system of medicine, which is gentle and effective. The homoeopathic remedies are prepared from natural substances to precise standards and work by stimulating the body’s own healing power. Homoeopathy is a holistic science, considering all the problems of the person together both at the mental and physical level. A number of diseases, which are faced by this group, can be treated with homoeopathy without side-effects if given rightly and that too without making the person dependent on it.
In old age there are a lot of conditions which require surgical intervention but same cannot be done because patient’s condition does not allow, in those cases also homoeopathy can be of help as a palliative. Homoeopathy is one such branch of therapeutics, which believes in treating the patient who is diseased and not merely diseased parts of the patients. An Integrated approach involving various disciplines can effectively manage Old age problems. Some of the disorders which can be effectively managed via hmoeopathy are as below:
Homoeopathy in Rheumatology: Homoeopathy has a wide role in treatment of various types of arthritis and musculoskeletal problems. Role of homeopathy is seen in following cases :
- Old age Arthritis
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Aches and pains
And can be very helpful in treating symptoms due to various joint disorders
Other disciples can also help as in advanced cases of arthritis. Orthopedic surgeon can help in carrying out corrective surgery if necessary. Physiotherapy helps a lot in mobilisation and improves functional capacity to a great extent. Yoga plays a much more holistic role in the treatment of rheumatological disorders. The asanas have a positive impact on the body as well as on mind.
Digestive complaints: One of the common problems of elderly is constipation for which they become dependent on medications and laxatives. Homoeopathic medicine can be given to correct the bowel movement along with proper advice to the patient regarding diet and physical activity. Other Digestive complaints which can be easily managed by homoeopathy includes acidity, vomiting, diarrhoe, flatulence, loss of appetite, Haemorrhids, fissures etc.
Bed Sores: Pressure sores or bedsores are a fairly common problem in the elderly owing to many factors such as incapacitation due to some illness. How about treating bedsores before they become a permanent disease in you? Prevent the development of pressure sores, as it is much easier to prevent any disease than cure. Homoeopathic remedies act miraculously in curing the sores that have already developed.calendula is one of the most effective remedies for same and can used by any patient for same. Its available in ointment and cream form and can be bought be any homeopathic store.
Alzheimer’s disease: Mother Nature has blessed mankind amongst all the entities on the earth with an extraordinary quality of logical and rational thinking. Unfortunately, the entire system of an individual becomes handicapped as the same brain starts deteriorating. As many as 2-4% of all people of 65 years of age and older have Alzheimer’s.
When we discuss the role of medicine for certain diseases, we probably do not talk of the ‘cure’ in real sense, but more of ‘control’ and ‘relief’. Alzheimer’s is one such condition, where homoeopathy has following role to play. To control the disease process whereby further deterioration of the brain damage is helped to certain extent. To improve to an extent some of the symptoms: communication, failing memory, anxiety, restlessness, etc.
Many of the problems associated with dementia such as restlessness, depression, and agitation can be treated effectively and gently with homoeopathy. It may also be possible, especially in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, to improve someone’s memory with homoeopathic medication. Timely administered homoeopathy medicines can prevent further progress of disease. Homoeopathy undertakes study of each Alzheimer’s as separate entity and does in-depth evaluation of the disease as well as patient as a person. It should be noted that there is no single specific remedy for all the cases of Alzheimer’s. The exact treatment is determined only on in depth evaluation of individual case.
Anxiety disorders in the elderly: Aging brings with it a higher prevalence of certain medical conditions, realistic concern about physical problems, and a higher use of prescripted medications. As a result, separating a medical condition from physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder is more complicated in the older adult. Both medication and psychosocial therapies are used to treat anxiety in older persons. Homoeopathy has vast scope in these areas as homoeopathic remedies act on mind, emotions and body. Correct homoeopathic remedy when prescribed on the basis of constitution of the person depending on their sensitivity, temperament and disposition of the person will correct the internal imbalance and reduce the anxiety levels.
Depression in Elderly: Depression is one of the major problems which is seen in elderly. This could be secondary:
- To the illness which has restricted their mobility
- Lifestyle disorders which need alternation in their routine, diet etc
- Financial constraints as the source of income is usually not there
- Many times these people have to live alone as children abandon them or due to other reasons are living separately
Homoeopathic drugs can be given to these patients which act the dynamic level will not only correct depression but also decrease his tendency of this kind of reaction along with relieving him of his physical ailments and thus help him live a better life. Here psychological help in form of treatment as well as evaluation of patient’s prognosis can be done simultaneously. A homoeopathic prescription is based on individualistic symptoms of the patient and also considering the physiological changes the disease has caused.
Homoeopathy in Cancer: There are homoeopathic drugs for prostatic enlargement that can provide symptomatic relief and can stop further progress of malignancy. Homoeopathic drugs are available for cancer which act as a palliative eHomoeopathic drugs can also be used for some cases in care of terminally ill patients. For this you need to see a homeopath and consult in person.
Help your loved ones by benefits of homoeopathy and let them live a better life condition. See or consult a homoeopathic practitioner is your area for yourself or your elders if they have any of the above age related problems.
About The Authors
Dr Geeta Rani Arora, MD (Hom), BHMS
Author is a homoeopathic practitioner in Delhi, India with clinical experience for more than 15 years. Dr Geeta is presented many papers at national and international conferences and is also been a speaker at many seminars. She is also working as R&D Head at B. Jain Pharmaceuticals and is Editor of The Homoeopathic Heritage. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For appointment and consultancy call at 011-26431955 ,91-9718063158
Dr Guneet Walia BHMS
Dr Guneet Walia is a homeoapathic practitioner and practices at Asansole, near Calcutta . she can be contacted on email at email@example.com or 9775158967.