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Age Gracefully with Dr. Charkawi

Senior couple smiling portrait outdoors. Soft focus backgroundJohns Creek Family Medicine, located in Johns Creek, convenient to patients in North Atlanta, including Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming, Dawsonville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, and throughout South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties, offers specialized geriatric care. Dr. Charkawi treats a wide variety of diseases and conditions that become more common in older adults, as well as the social issues and functional decline that the elderly often experience. Dr. Zack’s goal for his senior patients is to ensure a better quality of life for them. He serves on the Georgia Council on Aging, which gives him additional insight and exposure to current issues, so he is extremely knowledgeable about how to treat elderly patients.

When an elderly patient schedules their initial visit, Dr. Zach performs a comprehensive health assessment and reviews the patient’s medical history. This helps him identify information about previous health issues and disclose conditions are affecting their current health. Dr. Zach will also analyze their current medication lists to determine potential interactions and negative side effects. Immediate health issues are addressed, and the patient is scheduled for a follow-up visit to discuss their personalized preventative health care plan.  Caregivers and family members are encouraged to participate in this process to ensure the best quality of life. Dr. Zack’s elderly patients are monitored for long-term care.

How Does the Aging Process Affect You?

The effects of aging can affect you on the inside and outside of your body. Health problems for the elderly include aging of your muscles, bones, and joints. This can leave you feeling sluggish and not up to doing the things that you used to. Also, other geriatric health issues include heart disease and diabetes. For help with these issues you can visit Johns Creek Family Medicine.

Aging Muscles

  • As muscles age, they begin to shrink and lose bulk. This is a natural process, but a inactive lifestyle can speed up the process.
  • The amount of muscle fibers also decline. Therefore, it takes our muscles longer to respond in our elderly years than they did in our 20s.
  • The water content of tendons, the cord-like tissues that attach muscles to bones, decreases, as we get older. This makes the tissues tougher and less able to tolerate stress.
  • Handgrip strength also reduces, making it more challenging to accomplish everyday activities such as opening a jar or turning a key.
  • The heart muscle becomes less able to boost large amounts of blood swiftly to the body. Because of this, we get tired more quickly and take longer to recover.
  • The body’s metabolic rate (how quickly the body converts food into energy) decelerates. This can cause obesity and an increase in “bad” cholesterol points.

Aging Bones

  • As we age, the balance between bone absorption and bone formation changes, this causes a loss of bone mass.
  • The matter of bones decreases, so that bones become less dense and more fragile.
  • As bones lose mass, osteoporosis advances, which can affect both women and men. Osteoporosis is also accountable for almost all hip fractures in older men and women.
  • The purpose of cartilage is to provide cushioning between bones, and this changes with age. The cartilage becomes more prone to stress, which causes it to degrease. As cartilage deteriorates, arthritis develops in most cases.
  • Ligaments become less stretchy, which reduces flexibility.

Aging Joints

  • Joint motion becomes more limited and elasticity of the joints decreases with age because of alterations in the ligaments and tendons.
  • As the cartilage’s cushion begins to break down from a lifespan of use, joints become irritated and stiff.

Heart Disease

  • Heart disease, including heart attacks, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and congenial heart disease, is the leading health problem in people over the age of 65
  • Most common causes are high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increasing risk of stroke
  • Exercise, healthy eating, weight management, not smoking, and getting enough sleep help reduce the chance of heart disease.

Diabetes

  • About 24% of men and 18% of women over the age of 65 are living with diabetes.
  • It can be identified and addressed early with simple blood tests of your blood sugar levels. Early detection is key in managing symptoms.
  • Two types of diabetes which can be controlled by proper diet, exercise, and monitoring of insulin or blood sugar.
  • Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose), and is the more common type of diabetes.

How to Counteract the Effects of Aging

  • Regular exercise. Do some form of physical activity for at least 15 to 30 minutes a day, such as weight training, walking, square dancing, swimming, and bicycling.
  • Stretch in morning and before bed.
  • Regular doctors visits and physicals!

If you or someone you love that needs elderly healthcare, visit Johns Creek Family Medicine, serving patients in South Forsyth, Gwinnett, and North Fulton communities, and the surrounding north Atlanta areas. Dr. Zack wants to help you maintain your health and enjoy your older years.

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