Challenges of modern medicine - geriatric otolaryngology or the advantages of cooperation between an otolaryngologist and a geriatrician
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Advanced age is often burdened with many deficits that are a consequence of the aging process, unfavorable lifestyle and multi-morbidity. They contribute to increased morbidity and disability of the older people. Laryngological problems often concern seniors, particularly progressing with age hearing impairment, dizziness, balance disorders, epistaxis, nasopharyngeal diseases, larynx, sinuses, and salivary glands disorders. They are not only a health threat, such as head and neck cancer, but they contribute to the deterioration of mobility, falls and injuries, depression, cognitive functions impairment and, consequently, functional disability, loss of independence and a sense of isolation. In this context, taking as an example the most common ailment, which is hearing impairment, laryngological procedures in the form of the use of hearing aids or cochlear implant improves cognitive functions, mood, self-esteem, opportunities for social interaction and everyday functioning, and the quality of life of older people. In turn, in view of the typical for older age polypathology and of significant reduction of the reserves of the organism, effective treatment aimed at improving health, preventing complications of diagnostics and therapy as well as disability with the desire to maintain independence and good quality of life requires the cooperation of different specialists. The knowledge and experience of geriatricians and the comprehensive geriatric assessment used as the diagnostic tool, aimed at identifying deficits typical of seniors’ age may significantly contribute to a more adequate risk and benefit assessment, selection of optimal treatment for a given health situation and identification of high-risk individuals requiring during the treatment period special supervision to reduce the risk of complications and the risk of development of geriatric syndromes such as delirium, cognitive disorders, malnutrition, falls and injuries, functional disability.
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