This meeting aims to outline some aspects of the current understanding of the ageing process; the impact of ageing on health, and the presentation of diseases in older people.
Older people now represent a significant segment of the population and are particularly vulnerable to a number of diseases. Often, the homeostatic mechanisms that maintain a tightly controlled equilibrium in young, healthy people are less efficient in older age. The ageing process is associated with a number psychological changes that increase vulnerability and interfere with physical capabilities as we as cognitive functions.
Older people face two major hurdles: first, the changes intrinsic to the ageing process, and second, a number of diseases that affect them. A major difference between the impact of diseases affecting young people and those affecting older people is that in young people there is usually only one disease at a time, as opposed to the multiple pathologies seen in older patients. Unless treated appropriately in a timely manner, the impact of such diseases may be significant, long-lasting, and change the status of the older person from physical, mental, and social independence and well-being to a status of physical, cognitive, and emotional dependence and disability.
Topics at this meeting will include:
- Describe the normal physiological changes associated with the ageing process
- Recognise the differences between the ageing process and diseases common in old age
- Appreciate that age-associated changes increase the vulnerability to certain diseases and may affect their presentations
- Differentiate between age-associated cognitive changes, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia
- Understand the concept of Frailty and its importance
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