Items in AFP with MESH term: Aged
ABSTRACT: Streptococcus pneumoniae causes approximately 3,300 cases of meningitis, 100,000 to 135,000 cases of pneumonia requiring hospitalization and 6 million cases of otitis media annually in the United States. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, approved in 2000 for use in the United States, was designed to cover the seven serotypes that account for about 80 percent of invasive infections in children younger than six years. This vaccine demonstrated 100 percent efficacy against invasive pneumococcal disease in the primary analysis of a large randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. In the follow-up analysis, performed eight months after the trial ended, efficacy against invasive disease was found to be 94 percent for the included serotypes. When initiated during infancy, the four-dose vaccination schedule is set at two, four, six and 12 to 15 months of age. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends routine vaccination of infants, catch-up vaccination of children younger than 24 months and catch-up vaccination of children 24 to 59 months of age with high-risk medical conditions such as sickle cell disease and congenital heart disease.
ABSTRACT: Sick sinus syndrome comprises a variety of conditions involving sinus node dysfunction and commonly affects elderly persons. While the syndrome can have many causes, it usually is idiopathic. Patients may experience syncope, pre-syncope, palpitations, or dizziness; however, they often are asymptomatic or have subtle or nonspecific symptoms. Sick sinus syndrome has multiple manifestations on electrocardiogram, including sinus bradycardia, sinus arrest, sinoatrial block, and alternating patterns of bradycardia and tachycardia (bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome). Diagnosis of sick sinus syndrome can be difficult because of its nonspecific symptoms and elusive findings on electrocardiogram or Holter monitor. The mainstay of treatment is atrial or dual-chamber pacemaker placement, which generally provides effective relief of symptoms and lowers the incidence of atrial fibrillation, thromboembolic events, heart failure, and mortality, compared with ventricular pacemakers.
ABSTRACT: Gait disorders in the elderly are common and in most cases cannot be treated medically or surgically. Therefore, treatment often relies on ambulatory devices such as canes, crutches, and walkers. Before selecting a device, the patient should be evaluated to define whether one or both upper extremities are required to achieve balance or bear weight. Patients requiring only one upper extremity can use a cane, while patients requiring both upper extremities are best served by forearm crutches or walkers. The patient's need to bear weight through the device will help the physician choose a specific device. When measuring the device, anatomic landmarks and the angle of the elbow must be taken into consideration. Because time often is limited during a routine office visit, a physical therapist often can provide further training for patients learning to use such a device.
ABSTRACT: Older Americans comprise 13 percent of the population, but they consume an average of 30 percent of all prescription drugs. Every day, physicians are faced with issues surrounding appropriate prescribing to older patients. Polypharmacy, use of supplements, adherence issues, and the potential for adverse drug events all pose challenges to effective prescribing. Knowledge of the interplay between aging physiology, chronic diseases, and drugs will help the physician avoid potential adverse drug events as well as drug-drug and drug-disease interactions. Evidence is now available showing that older patients may be underprescribed useful drugs, including aspirin for secondary prevention in high-risk patients, beta blockers following myocardial infarction, and warfarin for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. There is also evidence that many older adults receive medications that could potentially cause more harm than good. Finding the right balance between too few and too many drugs will help ensure increased longevity, improved overall health, and enhanced functioning and quality of life for the aging population.
Saw Palmetto for Prostate Disorders - Article
ABSTRACT: Saw palmetto is an herbal product used in the treatment of symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia. The active component is found in the fruit of the American dwarf palm tree. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of saw palmetto in reducing symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Saw palmetto appears to have efficacy similar to that of medications like finasteride, but it is better tolerated and less expensive. There are no known drug interactions with saw palmetto, and reported side effects are minor and rare. No data on its long-term usage are available. The herbal product also has been used to treat chronic prostatitis, but currently there is no evidence of its efficacy.
ABSTRACT: Increasingly, atypical antipsychotic drugs are prescribed for elderly patients with symptoms of psychosis and behavioral disturbances. These symptoms often occur in patients with Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, or Parkinson's disease. As the average age of Americans increases, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease will rise accordingly. Although nonpharmacologic treatments for behavioral disturbances should be tried first, medications often are needed to enable the patient to be adequately cared for. Current guidelines recommend using risperidone and olanzapine to treat psychosis in patients with Alzheimer's dementia. Quetiapine and clozapine are recommended for treatment of psychosis in patients with Parkinson's disease. Additional research is needed for a recently approved agent, ziprasidone. To minimize side effects, these medications should be started at low dosages that are increased incrementally. Drug interactions, especially those involving the cytochrome P450 system, must be considered. Clozapine's potentially lethal side effects limit its use in the primary care setting. Informed use of atypical antipsychotic drugs allows family physicians to greatly improve quality of life in elderly patients with dementia and behavior disturbances.
ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mineral density and a deterioration in the microarchitecture of bone that increases its susceptibility to fracture. The World Health Organization defines osteoporosis as a bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the reference mean for healthy, young white women. The prevalence of osteoporosis in black women is one half that in white and Hispanic women. In white women 50 years and older, the risk of osteoporotic fracture is nearly 40 percent over their remaining lifetime. Of the drugs that have been approved for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis, the bisphosphonates (risedronate and alendronate) are most effective in reducing the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures. Risedronate has been shown to reduce fracture risk within one year in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and in patients with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. Hormone therapy reduces fracture risk, but the benefits may not outweigh the reported risks. Teriparatide, a recombinant human parathyroid hormone, reduces the risk of new fractures and is indicated for use in patients with severe osteoporosis. Raloxifene has been shown to lower the incidence of vertebral fractures in women with osteoporosis. Salmon calcitonin is reserved for use in patients who cannot tolerate bisphosphonates or hormone therapy.
ABSTRACT: Depression in elderly persons is widespread, often undiagnosed, and usually untreated. The current system of care is fragmented and inadequate, and staff at residential and other facilities often are ill-equipped to recognize and treat patients with depression. Because there is no reliable diagnostic test, a careful clinical evaluation is essential. Depressive illness in later life should be treated with antidepressants that are appropriate for use in geriatric patients. A comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach, including consideration of electroconvulsive treatment in some cases, is important. The overall long-term prognosis for elderly depressed patients is good.
ABSTRACT: The management of hypertension has evolved over the past decade. Isolated systolic blood pressure elevation, the most common form of uncontrolled hypertension, is recognized as a significant risk factor for vascular complications in patients with hypertension. Nutritional management of hypertension has moved beyond simply restricting sodium intake to ensuring that patients consume adequate amounts of the major food groups, particularly those containing calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Selective aldosterone receptor blockers are a new class of antihypertensive medication, and the angiotensin-receptor blocker class has several new additions. However, the main-stay of treatment remains a diuretic or a combination of a diuretic and either a beta blocker or an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. Hypertension is a significant risk factor for vascular complications of diabetes, and the target blood pressure in patients with diabetes or chronic renal disease and hypertension should be lower than that in patients with hypertension alone. Controlling hypertension in elderly patients can reduce their complications at least as much as it does those of younger patients with hypertension.
ABSTRACT: Retinal detachment often is a preventable cause of vision loss. There are three types of retinal detachments: exudative, tractional, and rhegmatogenous. The most common type is rhegmatogenous, which results from retinal breaks caused by vitreoretinal traction. Risk factors for retinal detachment include advancing age, previous cataract surgery, myopia, and trauma. Patients typically will present with symptoms such as light flashes, floaters, peripheral visual field loss, and blurred vision. Early intervention facilitates prevention of retinal detachment after formation of retinal breaks and improves visual outcomes of retinal detachment surgery. Patients with acute onset of flashes or floaters should be referred to an ophthalmologist.