October 06, 2011
- "How many times is normal to get up at night and go to the bathroom?”
- “If I’m having trouble hearing the television, am I going to go deaf?”
- “Is it normal to forget where you parked your car - I’m only 40!”
- “Is it ok if my mom is taking naps during the day, or should I be concerned? She did just retire.”
These are common questions that I get from patients as they get older. And it can be challenging to know the answers when you’re not a medical professional. Yet, it is important to be able to tell the difference between what is a normal part of aging versus a disease. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you should be having ten different medical problems. Yes, you will have some problems such as trouble reading fine print by the time you’re 40, but you’re not going to start having a life of aches and pains just because you’re older.
I find there are two sorts of patients – those that come in whenever they have any change in a body function, have scoured the internet and now think they have a brain tumor; and then there are those folks who rarely ever come into the office with complaints because they attribute it to “I’m just getting old.” The reality is that it is often diseases that make getting old frustrating, not the normal changes associated with aging. As we get older, too often we are embarrassed to bring up concerns to our doctors, or even get advice for our aging parents. So people needlessly live with pain, depression, bladder problems, vision problems – all the time thinking that these are normal changes, when sometimes they are not!
So I’m here to help you get some more information as to when you should be concerned about that mole on your back, and when you should say that’s just a normal part of aging. Take the quiz, and let’s see how you do.
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