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Is my mother's problems due to ageing?

Q: My mother is 74 years old and is suffering from spondylosis. Most of the time she suffers from body ache and weakness and because of this she cannot exercise such as walking outside the house. She has joint pain and headache often. Moreover, she has very little eyesight (only in one eye) as she has cataract for which she had undergone an operation about 25 years back. It is very difficult to take her to a doctor's clinic due to weakness as she cannot climb stairs. She also has blood pressure for which she was taking Repace H once a day which has now been replaced by tablets Adbeta (Atenolol 12.5mg) once a day. She is not diabetic and there is no family history. Her MRI indicates that two vertebral bones are not in shape and may be damaged to some extent. She gets very little sleep and is worried most of the time. Presently she has some type of Khasra (i.e. small pimples on whole of body) which are not red but itch a lot. It is very difficult to find a genuine doctor, nearby our house at Lodi road, who could visit her and treat whenever required. Kindly advise.

A:You are right! Yes, indeed it has become difficult to find a genuine doctor. The trust between patient and doctor is now replaced with suspicion! The patient suspects the doctor of malpractice and the doctor suspects the patient of being litigious. A mutually suspicious society! Having said that, the world is still not a bad place so do not lose heart. From your description most of the symptoms of your mother are related to ageing. Her feeling of weakness, her joint pains, diminished eye sight, reduced sleep are all related to ageing. In addition, her blood pressure must be contributing to her weakness. The skin problem is not significant and is fairly common in hot and humid weather. However, these symptoms of old age also hide some ailments that must be diagnosed early. So I need to have some clarifications. How is her appetite? Has she lost weight? If she is not eating well and has lost more than 10 - 15% of her body weight she needs to be seen by a good internal physician. Her itching may also be significant as it may be seen in some patients with impaired kidney function or impaired liver function. However, liver function impairment would have been obvious with jaundice. I presume she has no jaundice. I think she will have to have some basic blood tests looking at her Haemoglobin, Kidney functions and a urine test. It is better to get these done after a physical examination by a doctor. The specialty that takes care of elderly is called geriatric medicine. You could locate one and take your mother to such a physician. AIIMS has a geriatric clinic. So you could go there without worry of any commercial or other ulterior motive. She will need exercises to reduce her joint symptoms as well as her difficulty in walking. These can also be explained only by an empathetic physiotherapist or physician.

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