Items in AFP with MESH term: Algorithms

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Gastrointestinal Complications of Diabetes - Article

ABSTRACT: Gastrointestinal complications of diabetes include gastroparesis, intestinal enteropathy (which can cause diarrhea, constipation, and fecal incontinence), and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Patients with gastroparesis may present with early satiety, nausea, vomiting, bloating, postprandial fullness, or upper abdominal pain. The diagnosis of diabetic gastroparesis is made when other causes are excluded and postprandial gastric stasis is confirmed by gastric emptying scintigraphy. Whenever possible, patients should discontinue medications that exacerbate gastric dysmotility; control blood glucose levels; increase the liquid content of their diet; eat smaller meals more often; discontinue the use of tobacco products; and reduce the intake of insoluble dietary fiber, foods high in fat, and alcohol. Prokinetic agents (e.g., metoclopramide, erythromycin) may be helpful in controlling symptoms of gastroparesis. Treatment of diabetes-related constipation and diarrhea is aimed at supportive measures and symptom control. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is common in persons who are obese and who have diabetes. In persons with diabetes who have elevated hepatic transaminase levels, it is important to search for other causes of liver disease, including hepatitis and hemochromatosis. Gradual weight loss, control of blood glucose levels, and use of medications (e.g., pioglitazone, metformin) may normalize hepatic transaminase levels, but the clinical benefit of aggressively treating nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is unknown. Controlling blood glucose levels is important for managing most gastrointestinal complications.


Managing Hypertension Using Combination Therapy - Article

ABSTRACT: Combination therapy of hypertension with separate agents or a fixed-dose combination pill offers the potential to lower blood pressure more quickly, obtain target blood pressure, and decrease adverse effects. Antihypertensive agents from different classes may offset adverse reactions from each other, such as a diuretic decreasing edema occurring secondary to treatment with a calcium channel blocker. Most patients with hypertension require more than a single antihypertensive agent, particularly if they have comorbid conditions. Although the Joint National Committee guidelines recommend diuretic therapy as the initial pharmacologic agent for most patients with hypertension, the presence of "compelling indications" may prompt treatment with antihypertensive agents that demonstrate a particular benefit in primary or secondary prevention. Specific recommendations include treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, diuretics, beta blockers, or aldosterone antagonists for hypertensive patients with heart failure. For hypertensive patients with diabetes, recommended treatment includes diuretics, beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and/or calcium channel blockers. Recommended treatment for hypertensive patients with increased risk of coronary disease includes a diuretic, beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and/or calcium channel blocker. The Joint National Committee guidelines recommend beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and aldosterone antagonists for hypertensive patients who are postmyocardial infarction; angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers for hypertensive patients with chronic kidney disease; and diuretic and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors for recurrent stroke prevention in patients with hypertension.


Using DSM-IV Primary Care Version: A Guide to Psychiatric Diagnosis in Primary Care - Article

ABSTRACT: The prevalence of patients with psychiatric disorders in primary care settings indicates that family physicians have a need for a diagnostic manual suited to the realities of their practice. This article reviews the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., primary care version (DSM-IV-PC) and highlights the ways it accommodates the clinical needs of family physicians. DSM-IV-PC emphasizes the use of nine diagnostic algorithms for the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in primary care. The authors review the conceptual similarities between DSM-IV and DSM-IV-PC and the diagnostic features that are unique to DSM-IV-PC, and offer an illustrative case that incorporates a DSM-IV-PC approach to diagnosis. The authors also outline clinical and technical issues that remain unresolved in DSM-IV-PC.


Conjunctivitis - Article

ABSTRACT: Conjunctivitis refers to any inflammatory condition of the membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the exposed surface of the sclera. It is the most common cause of "red eye". The etiology can usually be determined by a careful history and an ocular examination, but culture is occasionally necessary to establish the diagnosis or to guide therapy. Conjunctivitis is commonly caused by bacteria and viruses. Neisseria infection should be suspected when severe, bilateral, purulent conjunctivitis is present in a sexually active adult or in a neonate three to five days postpartum. Conjunctivitis caused by Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae requires aggressive antibiotic therapy, but conjunctivitis due to other bacteria is usually self-limited. Chronic conjunctivitis is usually associated with blepharitis, recurrent styes or meibomianitis. Treatment requires good eyelid hygiene and the application of topical antibiotics as determined by culture. Allergic conjunctivitis is distinguished by severe itching and allergen exposure. This condition is generally treated with topical antihistamines, mast-cell stabilizers or anti-inflammatory agents.


An Algorithm for the Evaluation of Peripheral Neuropathy - Article

ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of peripheral neuropathies can be frustrating, time consuming and costly. Careful clinical and electrodiagnostic assessment, with attention to the pattern of involvement and the types of nerve fibers most affected, narrows the differential diagnosis and helps to focus the laboratory evaluation. An algorithmic approach to the evaluation and differential diagnosis of a patient with peripheral neuropathy is presented, based on important elements of the clinical history and physical examination, the use of electromyography and nerve conduction studies, autonomic testing, cerebrospinal fluid analysis and nerve biopsy findings. The underlying cause of axonal neuropathies can frequently be treated; demyelinating neuropathies are generally managed with the assistance of a neurologist.


Chronic Bronchitis: Primary Care Management - Article

ABSTRACT: Chronic bronchitis is a clinical diagnosis characterized by a cough productive of sputum for over three months' duration during two consecutive years and the presence of airflow obstruction. Pulmonary function testing aids in the diagnosis of chronic bronchitis by documenting the extent of reversibility of airflow obstruction. A better understanding of the role of inflammatory mediators in chronic bronchitis has led to greater emphasis on management of airway inflammation and relief of bronchospasm. Inhaled ipratropium bromide and sympathomimetic agents are the current mainstays of management. While theophylline has long been an important therapy, its use is limited by a narrow therapeutic range and interaction with other agents. Oral steroid therapy should be reserved for use in patients with demonstrated improvement in airflow not achievable with inhaled agents. Antibiotics play a role in acute exacerbations but have been shown to lead to only modest airflow improvement. Strengthening of the respiratory muscles, smoking cessation, supplemental oxygen, hydration and nutritional support also play key roles in long-term management of chronic bronchitis.


Contemporary Management of Angina: Part I. Risk Assessment - Article

ABSTRACT: Ischemic heart disease is one of the most common disorders managed by family physicians. Stratifying patients according to risk is important early in the course of the disease to identify patients who require invasive (percutaneous or surgical) treatment. Physical examination, clinical history, noninvasive tests and angiography are all helpful in determining who will benefit most from medical therapy, percutaneous revascularization or coronary artery bypass surgery. Surgery improves morbidity and mortality in a well-defined group of patients with left ventricular dysfunction and left main coronary artery disease or triple-vessel disease. Patients with proximal left anterior descending artery disease and moderate or severe ischemia benefit from surgery as well. In all other patients, definitive treatment includes aspirin, beta-adrenergic blockers and lipid-lowering agents. Percutaneous revascularization should be considered primarily a palliative measure, because it has never been shown to improve mortality more than medical therapy.


Chronic Abdominal Pain in Childhood: Diagnosis and Management - Article

ABSTRACT: More than one third of children complain of abdominal pain lasting two weeks or longer. The diagnostic approach to abdominal pain in children relies heavily on the history provided by the parent and child to direct a step-wise approach to investigation. If the history and physical examination suggest functional abdominal pain, constipation or peptic disease, the response to an empiric course of medical management is of greater value than multiple "exclusionary" investigations. A symptom diary allows the child to play an active role in the diagnostic process. The medical management of constipation, peptic disease and inflammatory bowel disease involves nutritional strategies, pharmacologic intervention and behavior and psychologic support.


Diagnosis and Management of the Adnexal Mass - Article

ABSTRACT: Adnexal masses are frequently found in both symptomatic and asymptomatic women. In premenopausal women, physiologic follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts are the most common adnexal masses, but the possibility of ectopic pregnancy must always be considered. Other masses in this age group include endometriomas, polycystic ovaries, tubo-ovarian abscesses and benign neoplasms. Malignant neoplasms are uncommon in younger women but become more frequent with increasing age. In postmenopausal women with adnexal masses, both primary and secondary neoplasms must be considered, along with leiomyomas, ovarian fibromas and other lesions such as diverticular abscesses. Information from the history, physical examination, ultrasound evaluation and selected laboratory tests will enable the physician to find the most likely cause of an adnexal mass. Measurement of serum CA-125 is a useful test for ovarian malignancy in postmenopausal women with pelvic masses. Asymptomatic premenopausal patients with simple ovarian cysts less than 10 cm in diameter can be observed or placed on suppressive therapy with oral contraceptives. Postmenopausal women with simple cysts less than 3 cm in diameter may also be followed, provided the serum CA-125 level is not elevated and the patient has no signs or symptoms suggestive of malignancy.


External Cephalic Version - Article

ABSTRACT: External cephalic version is a procedure that externally rotates the fetus from a breech presentation to a vertex presentation. External version has made a resurgence in the past 15 years because of a strong safety record and a success rate of about 65 percent. Before the resurgence of the use of external version, the only choices for breech delivery were cesarean section or a trial of labor. It is preferable to wait until term (37 weeks of gestation) before external version is attempted because of an increased success rate and avoidance of preterm delivery if complications arise. After the fetal head is gently disengaged, the fetus is manipulated by a forward roll or back flip. If unsuccessful, the version can be reattempted at a later time. The procedure should only be performed in a facility equipped for emergency cesarean section. The use of external cephalic version can produce considerable cost savings in the management of the breech fetus at term. It is a skill easily acquired by family physicians and should be a routine part of obstetric practice.


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