Items in AFP with MESH term: Aged
Sleep Problems in the Elderly - Article
ABSTRACT: Refreshing sleep requires both sufficient total sleep time as well as sleep that is in synchrony with the individual's circadian rhythm. Problems with sleep organization in elderly patients typically include difficulty falling asleep, less time spent in the deeper stages of sleep, early-morning awakening and less total sleep time. Poor sleep habits such as irregular sleep-wake times and daytime napping may contribute to insomnia. Caffeine, alcohol and some medications can also interfere with sleep. Primary sleep disorders are more common in the elderly than in younger persons. Restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder can disrupt sleep and may respond to low doses of antiparkinsonian agents as well as other drugs. Sleep apnea can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness. Evaluation of sleep problems in the elderly includes careful screening for poor sleep habits and other factors that may be contributing to the sleep problem. Formal sleep studies may be needed when a primary sleep disorder is suspected or marked daytime dysfunction is noted. Therapy with a benzodiazepine receptor agonist may be indicated after careful evaluation.
ABSTRACT: Older adults often deny feeling sad while exhibiting other characteristics of depression. Elderly patients with depression who do not present with sadness often have unexplained somatic complaints and exhibit a sense of hopelessness. Anxiety and anhedonia (a general loss of ability to feel pleasure) are also encountered frequently. Other features that may indicate underlying depression include slowness of movement and lack of interest in personal care. A screening device, such as the Center for Epidemiologic Studies--Depression Scale, Revised (CES-D-R), may identify depression in suspicious cases. When this condition is identified, treatment should generally include the use of an antidepressant medication, usually a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
ABSTRACT: Both isolated systolic hypertension (>140 mm Hg/<90 mm Hg) and systolic/diastolic hypertension (>140 mm Hg/>90 mm Hg) are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the elderly. Specific antihypertensive drug therapy is available if lifestyle interventions fail to reduce blood pressure to a normal level. Diuretics and beta blockers both reduce the occurrence of adverse events related to cerebrovascular disease; however, diuretics are more effective in reducing events related to coronary heart disease. Treated patients are less likely to develop severe hypertension or congestive heart failure. In most instances, low-dose diuretic therapy should be used as initial antihypertensive therapy in the elderly. A long-acting dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker may be used as alternative therapy in elderly patients with isolated systolic hypertension. Trials are being conducted to evaluate the long-term effects of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-II receptor blockers in elderly patients with uncomplicated hypertension.
ABSTRACT: Endogenous endophthalmitis is a potentially blinding ocular infection resulting from hematogenous spread from a remote primary source. The condition is relatively rare but may become more common as the number of chronically debilitated patients and the use of invasive procedures increase. Many etiologic organisms (gram-positive, gram-negative and fungal) have been reported to cause endogenous endophthalmitis. Risk factors are well defined and include most reasons for immune suppression. A high clinical suspicion is needed for early diagnosis and treatment. Early intravenous antibiotic therapy remains the cornerstone of treatment. The roles of intravitreal antibiotics and vitrectomy are evolving and may become more widely accepted as therapeutic modalities. The authors report a case of endogenous endophthalmitis and provide a brief review of the literature.
Elder Mistreatment - Article
ABSTRACT: Elder mistreatment is a widespread problem in our society that is often under-recognized by physicians. As a result of growing public outcry over the past 20 years, all states now have abuse laws that are specific to older adults; most states have mandated reporting by all health care professionals. The term "mistreatment" includes physical abuse and neglect, psychologic abuse, financial exploitation and violation of rights. Poor health, physical or cognitive impairment, alcohol abuse and a history of domestic violence are some of the risk factors for elder mistreatment. Diagnosis of elder mistreatment depends on acquiring a detailed history from the patient and the caregiver. It also involves performing a comprehensive physical examination. Only through awareness, a healthy suspicion and the performing of certain procedures are physicians able to detect elder mistreatment. Once it is suspected, elder mistreatment should be reported to adult protective services.
Hip Pain in Athletes - Article
ABSTRACT: Hip pain in athletes involves a wide differential diagnosis. Adolescents and young adults are at particular risk for various apophyseal and epiphyseal injuries due to lack of ossification of these cartilaginous growth plates. Older athletes are more likely to present with tendinitis in these areas because their growth plates have closed. Several bursae in the hip area are prone to inflammation. The trochanteric bursa is the most commonly injured, and the lesion is easily identified by palpation of the area. Iliotibial band syndrome presents with similar lateral hip pain and may be identified by provocative testing (Ober's test). A methodical physical examination that specifically tests the various muscle groups that move the hip joint can help determine a more specific diagnosis for the often vague complaint of hip pain. A number of hip conditions are more prevalent in athletes of certain ages. Transient synovitis is a common diagnosis in the very young, Legg-CalvÃ©-Perthes disease causes bony disruption of the femoral head in prepubescents, and slipped capital femoral epiphysis is seen most commonly in obese adolescent males. Femoral neck stress fractures are seen in adult athletes, especially those involved in endurance sports, and can progress to necrosis of the femoral head if not found early. Older athletes may be limited by degenerative joint disease but nonetheless should be encouraged to stay active.
The Older Adult Driver - Article
ABSTRACT: More adults aged 65 and older will be driving in the next few decades. Many older drivers are safe behind the wheel and do not need intensive testing for license renewal. Others, however, have physiologic or cognitive impairments that can affect their mobility and driving safety. When an older patient's driving competency is questioned, a comprehensive, step-by-step assessment is recommended. Many diseases that impair driving ability can be detected and treated effectively by family physicians. Physicians should take an active role in assessing and reducing the risk for injury in a motor vehicle and, when possible, prevent or delay driving cessation in their patients. Referral to other health care professionals, such as an occupational or physical therapist, may be helpful for evaluation and treatment. When an older patient is no longer permitted or able to drive, the physician should counsel the patient about using alternative methods of transportation.
ABSTRACT: Vision loss among the elderly is a major health care problem. Approximately one person in three has some form of vision-reducing eye disease by the age of 65. The most common causes of vision loss among the elderly are age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration is characterized by the loss of central vision. Primary open-angle glaucoma results in optic nerve damage and visual field loss. Because this condition may initially be asymptomatic, regular screening examinations are recommended for elderly patients. Cataract is a common cause of vision impairment among the elderly, but surgery is often effective in restoring vision. Diabetic retinopathy may be observed in the elderly at the time of diagnosis or during the first few years of diabetes. Patients should undergo eye examinations with dilation when diabetes is diagnosed and annually thereafter.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension in blacks is usually characterized by low renin, expanded volume and sensitivity to salt. Diuretics are the preferred initial therapy, but response to calcium channel antagonists is also good. The blood pressure response to monotherapy with beta blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors is blunted, but this effect is abolished with concomitant use of diuretics. The two major types of hypertension in older persons are isolated systolic hypertension and combined systolic and diastolic hypertension. Strong data support the treatment of combined hypertension in patients 60 to 79 years of age and isolated systolic hypertension in patients 60 to 96 years of age. Diuretics and long-acting dihydropyridine calcium channel antagonists are the recommended initial therapies for isolated systolic hypertension. More studies are necessary before recommendations can be made about the treatment of combined hypertension in patients 80 years of age and older.
Alcoholism in the Elderly - Article
ABSTRACT: Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are common but underrecognized problems among older adults. One third of older alcoholic persons develop a problem with alcohol in later life, while the other two thirds grow older with the medical and psychosocial sequelae of early-onset alcoholism. The common definitions of alcohol abuse and dependence may not apply as readily to older persons who have retired or have few social contacts. Screening instruments can be used by family physicians to identify older patients who have problems related to alcohol. The effects of alcohol may be increased in elderly patients because of pharmacologic changes associated with aging. Interactions between alcohol and drugs, prescription and over-the-counter, may also be more serious in elderly persons. Physiologic changes related to aging can alter the presentation of medical complications of alcoholism. Management of alcohol withdrawal in elderly persons should be closely supervised by a health care professional. Alcohol treatment programs with an elder-specific focus may improve outcomes in some patients.