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Prevention for the older person includes maintaining quality of life, preserving function, preventing collapse of family support systems, and maintaining independence in the community. Older women often have substantial responsibilities caring for spouses, siblings, children, and grandchildren. Significant levels of depression are seen in caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. Women access the health care system more frequently than do men. They receive more health services and prescriptions, undergo more examinations, laboratory tests, and blood pressure checks than men. Depression is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in older adults in the primary care setting, although it often goes unnoticed. Abuse is best correlated with the emotional and financial dependence of the caregivers on the geriatric victims. By attending to the differing risk factors of older women and following a systematic periodic evaluation, physicians can assist older women in maintaining their health and functional status.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, affecting more than 40 million people, one-third of postmenopausal women, and a substantial portion of the elderly in the USA, Europe, and Japan. The risk factors for osteoporosis such as sedentary lifestyle and/or immobility, low bodyweight, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption all influence bone mass negatively. The history and physical examination are important in screening for secondary forms of osteoporosis and directing the evaluation, although they are neither sensitive enough nor sufficient for diagnosing primary osteoporosis. The most widely used techniques of assessing bone mineral density are dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and quantitative computerized tomography (CT). Treatment for osteoporosis is instituted to prevent early or continuing bone loss, with the belief that there can be an immediate impact on the patient's wellbeing and a willingness to comply with the patient's desires.
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