ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Neurologic Group Develops Recommendations for Management of Epilepsy - Special Medical Reports
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.
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.
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.
Surgeon General Releases Mental Health Report - Practice Guidelines
ABSTRACT: Unintentional weight loss in persons older than 65 years is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The most common etiologies are malignancy, nonmalignant gastrointestinal disease, and psychiatric conditions. Overall, nonmalignant diseases are more common causes of unintentional weight loss in this population than malignancy. Medication use and polypharmacy can interfere with taste or cause nausea and should not be overlooked. Social factors may contribute to unintentional weight loss. A readily identifiable cause is not found in 16% to 28% of cases. Recommended tests include a complete blood count, basic metabolic panel, liver function tests, thyroid function tests, C-reactive protein levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, glucose measurement, lactate dehydrogenase measurement, and urinalysis. Chest radiography and fecal occult blood testing should be performed. Abdominal ultrasonography may also be considered. When baseline evaluation is unremarkable, a three- to six-month observation period is justified. Treatment focuses on the underlying cause. Nutritional supplements and flavor enhancers, and dietary modification that takes into account patient preferences and chewing or swallowing disabilities may be considered. Appetite stimulants may increase weight but have serious adverse effects and no evidence of decreased mortality.