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Flashcards in Ageing Deck (49)
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Define ageing/senescence

biological process of growing old, with associated changes in physiology and increased susceptibility to disease and increased likelihood of dying.


Why do organisms age. 2 theories




Outline damage theory of ageing

Accumulation of DNA damage. Loss of telomeres/oxidative damage. Ageing could be prevented if the damage could be repaired


Outline programmed ageing theory

genetic, hormonal and immunological changes over the lifetime of an organism lead to the cumulative deficits --> ageing

part of an inescapable biological timetable, just as growth and puberty are programmed to occur


Define population ageing

increasing age of an entire country, due to increasing life spans, and falling fertility rates.


How will UK population change

’s predicted there will be small increases in the number of younger people, but the largest increase will be in older people


Older patients are more likely to come with what presentation

A non-specific presentation means presentations where the underlying pathology is not immediately obvious, or clearly linked to the presentation

e.g. alls, delirium and reduced mobility


Giants of geriatric medicine (the 5Is)

immobility, intellectual impairment, instability, incontinence and iatrogenic problems.


Why can old people have delayed treatment

they attribute symptoms to another cause or “old age”, and lead to delays in treatment.

Atypical and non-specific presentations can lead to delays in treatment when the underlying problem is not recognised.


Frail definition

loss of functional reserve among older people which causes impairment of their ability to manage every day activities, and increases the likelihood of adverse events and deterioration when they are faced with a minor stressor.


Give an example of frailty

young person with mild pneumonia may need treatment with antibiotics at home

frail, older person with mild pneumonia may end up in hospital because the pneumonia causes delirium and reduced mobility.


What is the problem with drug treatment for older people

Changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics can make drug treatments in older people more likely to cause harm.

Many drug trials have low numbers of older people, so the evidence for treatment is often extrapolated from younger people. In the past it was common to exclude older people from drug trials altogether.


What happens to the brain tissue with age

1. Increased CSF, widened ventricles, gaps between the major gyri widen.

2. White matter changes.

3. Weight of brain changes


What happens to brain weight across life

maximum weight occurs at 20, stays until 40-50

Then reduces 2-3% each decade until 80, when you have 10% lower brain weight


t/f impairment of cognitive funciton is normal process associated with ageing

F. Some aspects of cognition change as a person ages, but significant impairment of cognitive function is not normal, even in the oldest old, and indicates that there is a problem.


Why have rates of dementia diagnosis been low historically

1. Misinterpretation (thinking it's normal for old people to have reduced cognition)

2. Fatalism (there's nothing we can do about it anyway)

3. Social isolation of some older people, such that they have no one to notice any problems


What proportion of those with dementia have a diagnosis



What is dementia and what are the main types

Dementia is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disease which causes a decline in cognition. The most common types of dementia (Alzheimer’s and vascular)


What is the progresion of dementia

Often start with memory problems, but over time will include all cognitive functions.


What is mild cognitive impairment

a specific term used to refer to people who have mild problems which do not interfere with their day-to-day life and don’t meet the diagnostic criteria for dementia


Differentiate dementia with delirium

Dementia= chronic progresive degenerative disease

Delirium- acute episode of confusion, usually with a clear precipitant such as infection or medication changes.

Dementia just affects cognition i.e. content (not alertness), whereas delirium affects both level and content (i.e. alertness and cognition)


T/F there is no link between delirium and dementa


Delirium usually resolves, but can leave some people with residual problems (ie dementia). Delirium is much more common in people who already have dementia.


What could be a cause of delirium

infection or medication changes


What test can help to distinguish dementia and delirium

Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) and 4AT are tools to help distinguish between delirium and dementia


What is life expectancy

statistical measure of how
long a person can expect to live


What is chronoloical age vs biological age

Chronological is how old you actually are
Biological is how old ur body is

Chronological ageing is inevitable but poor biological
ageing is not…


Challenges for society of ageing populatin

• Working life/retirement balance
• Caring for older people, the sandwich generation
• Extending healthy old age not just life expectancy
• Inadequate or absent services
• Outdated and ageist beliefs/assumptions
• Medical system designed for single acute diseases
• Limited accessibility for those with disabilities


What is compression of morbidity

As life expectancy increased, people were getting ill at the same point and just living with morbidity for longer

That changed so that now people get ill later and live longer, so there is less time spent ill


What is health span

Health span is the time before disease, and you want this to inrcrease


What symptoms are old people more and less likely to have with PE and Acute coronary syndrome

Acute Coronary Syndrome
• Less likely to have chest pain
– Pulmonary Embolism
• Less likely to have pleuritic chest pain
• Less likely to have haemoptysis

– Acute Coronary Syndrome
• More likely to have shortness of breath
– Pulmonary Embolism
• More likely to have syncope