The prevalence of chronic diseases increases with age. In addition to the usual medical data gathered, specific questions pertaining to signs and symptoms of disease assume increasing importance as not every patient knows the technical terms for all of their diseases.
Recent national data indicates over 60% of individuals 65 and older will be hypertensive and about 30% will have a history of heart conditions. We also see very high prevalence rates for arthritis (48%), hearing and visual disorders (35% and 14%, respectively), and diabetes (20%). Renal and pulmonary functioning often are also compromised.
Because the medications prescribed for many chronic physical illnesses can produce a variety of oral side effects and have potential impact on dental treatment, it is important to have a thorough record of both prescription and over-the-counter medications taken.