INVESTIGATIONS AND MANAGEMENT OF THE ELDERLY
Investigation and management of illness in the elderly poses a number of problems. Many conditions are more common in the elderly and often the presentation of some of these diseases may differ from that in younger people. For example, diabetes mellitus in the elderly often presents as a complication of, for example, renal failure or impaired healing of wounds, instead of the classical signs of polydipsia or polyuria first seen in younger patients. Elderly people, particularly those with poor mobility, may also suffer from poor nutrition. Furthermore, they are often on multiple medications that may affect test results. The high incidence of many diseases in the elderly population justifies screening programs for such conditions to increase the chances of detecting disease at a more treatable stage. Clinicians, hospitals and geriatric clinics can all carry out screening. Some of the common investigations are listed in Table 18.1.