Helping You to Help Yourself

Be On The Lookout For CHANGE

by Robert S. Stall, M.D.--Internist/Geriatrician

How do you feel today compared to yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year? Be on the lookout for CHANGE. Change is one of the most important qualities a doctor assesses when evaluating a patient's problems. When you tell a doctor about a recent symptom you have been experiencing, you are really describing a CHANGE from how you usually feel.

It is very important to realize that symptoms, and therefore CHANGES, in older people can be quite subtle and non-specific. The older you are, the more subtle the symptoms may become. For example, mood changes, falls, difficulty thinking, poor appetite, or fatigue could indicate a wide variety of illnesses or problems, such as thyroid gland disease, medication side effects, or infection. Similarly, urinary incontinence may be the only indication of several treatable conditions and shouldn't simply be considered a "normal" change of aging.

Keep an eye on yourself and make sure your friends and family do too. If you're not feeling quite right, ask yourself why. What is different now than a month or year ago? Is it affecting your ability to function and enjoy life the way you would like to? Watch for CHANGE--it can help you to help yourself.

This page Copyright 1995 Robert S. Stall, M.D.