Items in AFP with MESH term: Aged

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Managing Menopause - Article

ABSTRACT: Many women will spend one third of their lifetime after menopause. A growing number of options are available for the treatment of menopausal symptoms like vasomotor instability and vaginal atrophy, as well as the long-term health risks such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis that are associated with menopause. Currently, hormone replacement therapy (estrogen with or without progestin) is the primary treatment for the symptoms and long-term risks associated with menopause. However, recent evidence calls into question the protective effect of estrogen on cardiovascular disease risk. The association of risk for breast cancer with estrogen replacement therapy also has not been fully clarified. In addition, many women cannot or choose not to take hormones. For treatment of osteoporosis and heart disease, pharmacologic choices include antiresorptive agents such as bisphosphonates and calcitonin, and estrogens or selective estrogen receptor modulators such as raloxifene. In addition, complementary options that include vitamins, herbal treatments, exercise and other lifestyle adaptations are gaining increased interest. The growing number of choices and questions in this area emphasizes the need to individualize a treatment plan for each woman to meet her specific needs.


The Geriatric Patient: A Systematic Approach to Maintaining Health - Article

ABSTRACT: The number of persons 65 years of age and older continues to increase dramatically in the United States. Comprehensive health maintenance screening of this population is becoming an important task for primary care physicians. As outlined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, assessment categories unique to elderly patients include sensory perception and injury prevention. Geriatric patients are at higher risk of falling for a number of reasons, including postural hypotension, balance or gait impairment, polypharmacy (more than three prescription medications) and use of sedative-hypnotic medications. Interventional areas that are common to other age groups but have special implications for older patients include immunizations, diet and exercise, and sexuality. Cognitive ability and mental health issues should also be evaluated within the context of the individual patient's social situation-not by screening all patients but by being alert to the occurrence of any change in mental function. Using an organized approach to the varied aspects of geriatric health, primary care physicians can improve the care that they provide for their older patients.


Falls in the Elderly - Article

ABSTRACT: Falls are the leading cause of injury-related visits to emergency departments in the United States and the primary etiology of accidental deaths in persons over the age of 65 years. The mortality rate for falls increases dramatically with age in both sexes and in all racial and ethnic groups, with falls accounting for 70 percent of accidental deaths in persons 75 years of age and older. Falls can be markers of poor health and declining function, and they are often associated with significant morbidity. More than 90 percent of hip fractures occur as a result of falls, with most of these fractures occurring in persons over 70 years of age. One third of community-dwelling elderly persons and 60 percent of nursing home residents fall each year. Risk factors for falls in the elderly include increasing age, medication use, cognitive impairment and sensory deficits. Outpatient evaluation of a patient who has fallen includes a focused history with an emphasis on medications, a directed physical examination and simple tests of postural control and overall physical function. Treatment is directed at the underlying cause of the fall and can return the patient to baseline function.


Sporotrichoid Lymphocutaneous Infections: Etiology, Diagnosis and Therapy - Article

ABSTRACT: Sporotrichoid lymphocutaneous infection is an uncommon syndrome that is often misdiagnosed and improperly treated. Of the several hundred cases seen each year in the United States, the majority are caused by Sporothrix schenckii, Nocardia brasiliensis, Mycobacterium marinum or Leishmania brasiliensis. The "sporotrichoid" disease begins at a site of distal inoculation and leads to the development of nodular lymphangitis. Systemic symptoms are characteristically absent. By recognizing the distinct pattern of nodular lymphangitis and focusing on the diverse but limited etiologies, the physician can obtain the appropriate histologic and microbiologic studies and start targeted antimicrobial therapy. Therapy is generally continued for two to three months after the resolution of cutaneous disease.


Anemia in the Elderly - Article

ABSTRACT: Anemia should not be accepted as an inevitable consequence of aging. A cause is found in approximately 80 percent of elderly patients. The most common causes of anemia in the elderly are chronic disease and iron deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, gastrointestinal bleeding and myelodysplastic syndrome are among other causes of anemia in the elderly. Serum ferritin is the most useful test to differentiate iron deficiency anemia from anemia of chronic disease. Not all cases of vitamin B12 deficiency can be identified by low serum levels. The serum methylmalonic acid level may be useful for diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency is effectively treated with oral vitamin B12 supplementation. Folate deficiency is treated with 1 mg of folic acid daily.


Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Screening - Article

ABSTRACT: Approximately 180,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually, accounting for about 48,000 deaths per year in the United States. The screening guidelines for the diagnosis of breast cancer are continually changing. Because of increased awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and the use of screening mammograms, breast cancers are increasingly being diagnosed at earlier stages. Annual mammograms and clinical breast examinations are recommended for women older than 40 years. Women older than 20 years should be encouraged to do monthly breast self-examinations, and women between 20 and 39 years of age should have a clinical breast examination every three years. These guidelines are modified for women with risk factors, particularly those with a strong family history of breast cancer. Ultrasonographic studies are most useful to evaluate cystic breast masses. For solid masses, diagnostic biopsy techniques include fine-needle aspiration, core biopsy and excisional biopsy.


Evaluating and Treating Unintentional Weight Loss in the Elderly - Article

ABSTRACT: Elderly patients with unintentional weight loss are at higher risk for infection, depression and death. The leading causes of involuntary weight loss are depression (especially in residents of long-term care facilities), cancer (lung and gastrointestinal malignancies), cardiac disorders and benign gastrointestinal diseases. Medications that may cause nausea and vomiting, dysphagia, dysgeusia and anorexia have been implicated. Polypharmacy can cause unintended weight loss, as can psychotropic medication reduction (i.e., by unmasking problems such as anxiety). A specific cause is not identified in approximately one quarter of elderly patients with unintentional weight loss. A reasonable work-up includes tests dictated by the history and physical examination, a fecal occult blood test, a complete blood count, a chemistry panel, an ultrasensitive thyroid-stimulating hormone test and a urinalysis. Upper gastrointestinal studies have a reasonably high yield in selected patients. Management is directed at treating underlying causes and providing nutritional support. Consideration should be given to the patient's environment and interest in and ability to eat food, the amelioration of symptoms and the provision of adequate nutrition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled no appetite stimulants for the treatment of weight loss in the elderly.


Common Infections in Older Adults - Article

ABSTRACT: Infectious diseases account for one third of all deaths in people 65 years and older. Early detection is more difficult in the elderly because the typical signs and symptoms, such as fever and leukocytosis, are frequently absent. A change in mental status or decline in function may be the only presenting problem in an older patient with an infection. An estimated 90 percent of deaths resulting from pneumonia occur in people 65 years and older. Mortality resulting from influenza also occurs primarily in the elderly. Urinary tract infections are the most common cause of bacteremia in older adults. Asymptomatic bacteriuria occurs frequently in the elderly; however, antibiotic treatment does not appear to be efficacious. The recent rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (e.g., methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus) is a particular problem in the elderly because they are exposed to infections at higher rates in hospital and institutional settings. Treatment of colonization and active infection is problematic; strict adherence to hygiene practices is necessary to prevent the spread of resistant organisms.


Cancer Screening Guidelines - Article

ABSTRACT: Numerous medical organizations have developed cancer screening guidelines. Faced with the broad, and sometimes conflicting, range of recommendations for cancer screening, family physicians must determine the most reasonable and up-to-date method of screening. Major medical organizations have generally achieved consensus on screening guidelines for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer. For breast cancer screening in women ages 50 to 70, clinical breast examination and mammography are generally recommended every one or two years, depending on the medical organization. For cervical cancer screening, most organizations recommend a Papanicolaou test and pelvic examination at least every three years in patients between 20 and 65 years of age. Annual fecal occult blood testing along with flexible sigmoidoscopy at five-year to 10-year intervals is the standard recommendation for colorectal cancer screening in patients older than 50 years. Screening for prostate cancer remains a matter of debate. Some organizations recommend digital rectal examination and a serum prostate-specific antigen test for men older than 50 years, while others do not. In the absence of compelling evidence to indicate a high risk of endometrial cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer and ovarian cancer, almost no medical organizations have developed cancer screening guidelines for these types of cancer.


Interventional Radiology in Cancer Patients - Article

ABSTRACT: Procedures performed by an interventional radiology specialist are becoming increasingly important in the management of patients with cancer. Although general interventional radiology procedures such as angiography and angioplasty are used in patients with and without cancer, certain procedures are reserved for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer or cancer-related complications. Interventional radiology procedures include imaging-guided biopsies to obtain samples for cytologic or pathologic testing without affecting adjacent structures. Transjugular liver biopsy is used to diagnose hepatic parenchymal abnormalities without traversing Glisson's capsule. This biopsy procedure is particularly useful in patients with coagulopathies. Because the transjugular liver biopsy obtains random samples, it is not recommended for biopsy of discrete hepatic masses. Fluid collections can also be sampled or drained using interventional radiology techniques. Transcatheter chemoembolization is a procedure that delivers a chemotherapeutic agent to a tumor along with sponge particles that have an ischemic effect on the mass. Tumor ablation, gene therapy and access of central veins for treatment are performed effectively under radiographic guidance. Cancer complications can also be treated with interventional radiology techniques. Examples include pain control procedures, vertebroplasty and drainage of obstructed organs. Interventional radiology techniques typically represent the least invasive definitive diagnostic or therapeutic options available for patients with cancer. They can often be performed at a lower cost and with less associated morbidity than other interventions.


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