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Diabetic Nephropathy: Common Questions - Article
ABSTRACT: Diabetic nephropathy, or diabetic kidney disease, affects 20 to 30 percent of patients with diabetes. It is a common cause of kidney failure. Diabetic nephropathy presents in its earliest stage with low levels of albumin (microalbuminuria) in the urine. The most practical method of screening for microalbuminuria is to assess the albumin-to-creatinine ratio with a spot urine test. Results of two of three tests for microalbuminuria should be more than 30 mg per day or 20 mcg per minute in a three- to six-month period to diagnose a patient with diabetic nephropathy. Slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy can be achieved by optimizing blood pressure (130/80 mm Hg or less) and glycemic control, and by prescribing an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker. Patients with diabetes and isolated microalbuminuria or hypertension benefit from angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. In the event that these medications cannot be prescribed, a nondihydropyridine calcium channel blocker may be considered. Serum creatinine and potassium levels should be monitored carefully for patients receiving angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. These medications should be stopped if hyperkalemia is pronounced.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension is a common comorbidity in patients with diabetes, and adequate control of blood pressure significantly reduces the risk of macrovascular and microvascular complications. Patients with diabetes should achieve a target blood pressure of less than 130/80 mm Hg. The use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors may slow progression to kidney failure and cardiovascular mortality; these agents are the preferred therapy for managing coexisting diabetes and hypertension. Angiotensin receptor blockers can prevent progression of diabetic kidney disease and are a first-line alternative for patients intolerant of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Thiazide diuretics provide additional antihypertensive effects when combined with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. With lower doses of these drugs, the risk of clinically significant metabolic alterations is minimal. Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers also have beneficial effects in managing hypertension in patients with diabetes. Beta blockers reduce cardiovascular events and are useful in a multidrug regimen. Dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers should be reserved for patients intolerant of preferred agents or those who need additional therapy to achieve target blood pressure. Many patients with diabetes require combination therapy with multiple antihypertensive agents.
ABSTRACT: The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, in collaboration with the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, have issued an update of the 2004 guideline for the management of patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. The American Academy of Family Physicians endorses and accepts this guideline as its policy. Early recognition and prompt initiation of reperfusion therapy remains the cornerstone of management of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Aspirin should be given to symptomatic patients. Beta blockers should be used cautiously in the acute setting because they may increase the risk of cardiogenic shock and death. The combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is indicated in patients who have had ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. A stepped care approach to analgesia for musculoskeletal pain in patients with coronary heart disease is provided. Cyclooxygenase inhibitors and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase mortality risk and should be avoided. Primary prevention is important to reduce the burden of heart disease. Secondary prevention interventions are critically important to prevent recurrent events in patients who survive.
Diagnosis and Management of Preeclampsia - Article
ABSTRACT: Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific multisystem disorder of unknown etiology. The disorder affects approximately 5 to 7 percent of pregnancies and is a significant cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Preeclampsia is defined by the new onset of elevated blood pressure and proteinuria after 20 weeks of gestation. It is considered severe if blood pressure and proteinuria are increased substantially or symptoms of end-organ damage (including fetal growth restriction) occur. There is no single reliable, cost-effective screening test for preeclampsia, and there are no well-established measures for primary prevention. Management before the onset of labor includes close monitoring of maternal and fetal status. Management during delivery includes seizure prophylaxis with magnesium sulfate and, if necessary, medical management of hypertension. Delivery remains the ultimate treatment. Access to prenatal care, early detection of the disorder, careful monitoring, and appropriate management are crucial elements in the prevention of preeclampsia-related deaths.
ABSTRACT: High blood pressure is often difficult to control. Resistant hypertension is blood pressure above goal despite adherence to a combination of at least three antihypertensive medications of different classes, optimally dosed and usually including a diuretic. The approach to blood pressure that is apparently difficult to control begins with an assessment of the patient's adherence to the management plan, including lifestyle modifications and medications. White-coat hypertension may need to be ruled out. Suboptimal therapy is the most common reason for failure to reach the blood pressure goal. Once-daily fixed-dose combination pills may improve control through the synergism of antihypertensive agents from different classes and improved adherence. Truly drug-resistant hypertension is commonly caused by chronic kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, or hyperaldosteronism, all of which can lead to fluid retention. Higher doses of diuretics (or a change to a loop diuretic) are usually needed. Other strategies include adding an alpha blocker, alpha-beta blocker, clonidine, or an aldosterone antagonist (e.g., spironolactone). Particularly in patients with diabetes or renal disease, combining a long-acting nondihydropyridine with a dihydropyridine calcium channel . blocker can also be considered. Obesity, heavy alcohol intake, high levels of dietary sodium, and interfering substances (especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) contribute to hypertension that is resistant or difficult to control.
Are Beta Blockers Effective First-line Treatments for Hypertension? - Cochrane for Clinicians
ABSTRACT: Risk factors for stroke should be evaluated in patients who have had a transient ischemic attack. Blood pressure, lipid levels, and diabetes mellitus should be controlled. When applicable, smoking cessation and weight loss also are important. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy may help prevent stroke. Aspirin is the treatment of choice for stroke prevention in patients who do not require anticoagulation. Clopidogrel is an alternative therapy in patients who do not tolerate aspirin. Atrial fibrillation, a known cardioembolic source (confirmed thrombus), or a highly suspected cardioembolic source (e.g., recent large myocardial infarction, dilated cardiomyopathy, mechanical valve, rheumatic mitral valve stenosis) are indications for anticoagulation.
A Tool for Evaluating Hypertension - Improving Patient Care
Cardiomyopathy: An Overview - Article
ABSTRACT: Cardiomyopathy is an anatomic and pathologic diagnosis associated with muscle or electrical dysfunction of the heart. Cardiomyopathies represent a heterogeneous group of diseases that often lead to progressive heart failure with significant morbidity and mortality. Cardiomyopathies may be primary (i.e., genetic, mixed, or acquired) or secondary (e.g., infiltrative, toxic, inflammatory). Major types include dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Although cardiomyopathy is asymptomatic in the early stages, symptoms are the same as those characteristically seen in any type of heart failure and may include shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, orthopnea, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, and edema. Diagnostic studies include B-type natriuretic peptide levels, baseline serum chemistries, electrocardiography, and echocardiography. Treatment is targeted at relieving the symptoms of heart failure and reducing rates of heart failure-related hospitalization and mortality. Treatment options include pharmacotherapy, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization therapy, and heart transplantation. Recommended lifestyle changes include restricting alcohol consumption, losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking, and eating a low-sodium diet.
Preterm Labor - Article
ABSTRACT: Preventing preterm delivery remains one of the great challenges in modern medicine. Preterm birth rates continue to increase and accounted for 12.7 percent of all U.S. births in 2005. The etiology of preterm delivery is unclear, but is likely to be complex and influenced by genetics and environmental factors. Women with previous preterm birth are at increased risk of subsequent preterm delivery and may be candidates for treatment with antenatal progesterone. Fetal fibronectin testing and endovaginal ultrasonography for cervical length are useful for triage. For the patient in preterm labor, only antenatal corticosteroids and delivery in a facility with a level III neonatal intensive care unit have been shown to improve outcomes consistently. Tocolytic agents may delay delivery for up to 48 hours, enabling the administration of antenatal corticosteroids or maternal transfer. Routine use of antibiotics in preterm labor is not indicated except for group B streptococcus prophylaxis or treatment of chorioamnionitis.