Items in AFP with MESH term: Chronic Disease
ABSTRACT: Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition that results in significant morbidity and mortality. Because of the important role the kidneys play in maintaining homeostasis, chronic kidney disease can affect almost every body system. Early recognition and intervention are essential to slowing disease progression, maintaining quality of life, and improving outcomes. Family physicians have the opportunity to screen at-risk patients, identify affected patients, and ameliorate the impact of chronic kidney disease by initiating early therapy and monitoring disease progression. Aggressive blood pressure control, with a goal of 130/80 mm Hg or less, is recommended in patients with chronic kidney disease. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-II receptor antagonists are most effective because of their unique ability to decrease proteinuria. Hyperglycemia should be treated; the goal is an AIC concentration below 7 percent. In patients with dyslipidemia, statin therapy is appropriate to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Anemia should be treated, with a target hemoglobin concentration of 11 to 12 g per dL (110 to 120 g per L). Hyperparathyroid disease requires dietary phosphate restrictions, antacid use, and vitamin D supplementation; if medical therapy fails, referral for surgery is necessary. Counseling on adequate nutrition should be provided, and smoking cessation must be encouraged at each office visit.
The Patient with Daily Headaches - Article
ABSTRACT: The term 'chronic daily headache' (CDH) describes a variety of headache types, of which chronic migraine is the most common. Daily headaches often are disabling and may be challenging to diagnose and treat. Medication overuse, or drug rebound headache, is the most treatable cause of refractory daily headache. A pathologic underlying cause should be considered in patients with recent-onset daily headache, a change from a previous headache pattern, or associated neurologic or systemic symptoms. Treatment of CDH focuses on reduction of headache triggers and use of preventive medication, most commonly anti-depressants, antiepileptic drugs, and beta blockers. Medication overuse must be treated with discontinuation of symptomatic medicines, a transitional therapy, and long-term prophylaxis. Anxiety and depression are common in patients with CDH and should be identified and treated. Although the condition is challenging, appropriate treatment of patients with CDH can bring about significant improvement in the patient's quality-of-life.
Methadone Treatment for Pain States - Article
ABSTRACT: Methadone is a synthetic opioid with potent analgesic effects. Although it is associated commonly with the treatment of opioid addiction, it may be prescribed by licensed family physicians for analgesia. Methadone's unique pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics make it a valuable option in the management of cancer pain and other chronic pain, including neuropathic pain states. It may be an appropriate replacement for opioids when side effects have limited further dosage escalation. Metabolism of and response to methadone varies with each patient. Transition to methadone and dosage titration should be completed slowly and with frequent monitoring. Conversion should be based on the current daily oral morphine equivalent dosage. After starting methadone therapy or increasing the dosage, systemic toxicity may not become apparent for several days. Some medications alter the absorption or metabolism of methadone, and their concurrent use may require dosing adjustments. Methadone is less expensive than other sustained-release opioid formulations.
ABSTRACT: The clinical evaluation of gastrointestinal bleeding depends on the hemodynamic status of the patient and the suspected source of the bleeding. Patients presenting with upper gastrointestinal or massive lower gastrointestinal bleeding, postural hypotension, or hemodynamic instability require inpatient stabilization and evaluation. The diagnostic tool of choice for all cases of upper gastrointestinal bleeding is esophagogastroduodenoscopy; for acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding, it is colonoscopy, or arteriography if the bleeding is too brisk. When bleeding cannot be identified and controlled, intraoperative enteroscopy or arteriography may help localize the bleeding source, facilitating segmental resection of the bowel. If no upper gastrointestinal or large bowel source of bleeding is identified, the small bowel can be investigated using a barium-contrast upper gastrointestinal series with small bowel follow-through, enteroclysis, push enteroscopy, technetium-99m-tagged red blood cell scan, arteriography, or a Meckel's scan. These tests may be used alone or in combination.
ABSTRACT: Support of patient self-management is a key component of effective chronic illness care and improved patient outcomes. Self-management support goes beyond traditional knowledge-based patient education to include processes that develop patient problem-solving skills, improve self-efficacy, and support application of knowledge in real-life situations that matter to patients. This approach also encompasses system-focused changes in the primary care environment. Family physicians can support patient self-management by structuring patient-physician interactions to identify problems from the patient perspective, making office environment changes that remove self-management barriers, and providing education individually and through available community self-management resources. The emerging evidence supports the implementation of practice strategies that are conducive to patient self-management and improved patient outcomes among chronically ill patients.
Chronic Plaque Psoriasis - Article
ABSTRACT: Chronic plaque psoriasis, the most common form of psoriasis, is a papulosquamous disease defined by erythematous plaques with a silvery scale. The diagnosis usually is clinical, but occasionally a biopsy is necessary. Psoriasis affects 0.6 to 4.8 percent of the U.S. population, and about 30 percent of affected patients have a first-degree relative with the disease. Psoriasis is a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease, but certain medications and infections are well-known risk factors. Management of psoriasis includes education about chronicity, realistic expectations, and use of medication. Steroids and vitamin D derivatives (e.g., calcipotriene) are the mainstays of topical therapy. Topical steroids and calcipotriene together may work better than either agent alone. Patients with psoriasis involving more than 20 percent of their skin or those not responding to topical therapy are candidates for light therapy; traditional systemic therapy; or systemic treatment with immunomodulatory drugs such as alefacept, efalizumab, and etanercept.
ABSTRACT: Musculoskeletal pain can be difficult for children to characterize. Primary care physicians must determine whether the pain may be caused by a systemic disease. Change in activity, constitutional symptoms such as fevers and fatigue, or abnormal examination findings without obvious etiology should raise suspicion for rheumatic disease. A complete physical examination should be performed to look for extra-articular signs of rheumatic disease, focusing on but not limited to the affected areas. A logical and consistent approach to diagnosis is recommended, with judicious use of laboratory and radiologic testing. Complete blood count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate measurement are useful if rheumatic disease is suspected. Other rheumatologic tests (e.g., antinuclear antibody) have a low pretest probability in the primary care setting and must be interpreted cautiously. Plain radiography can exclude fractures or malignancy; computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are more sensitive in detecting joint inflammation. Family physicians should refer children to a subspecialist when the diagnosis is in question or subspecialty treatment is required. Part II of this series discusses rheumatic diseases that present primarily with musculoskeletal pain in children, including juvenile arthritis, the spondyloarthropathies, acute rheumatic fever, Henoch-SchÃ¶nlein purpura, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
ABSTRACT: Major complications of cirrhosis include ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, hepatic encephalopathy, portal hypertension, variceal bleeding, and hepatorenal syndrome. Diagnostic studies on ascitic fluid should include a differential leukocyte count, total protein level, a serum-ascites albumin gradient, and fluid cultures. Therapy consists of sodium restriction, diuretics, and complete abstention from alcohol. Patients with ascitic fluid polymorphonuclear leukocyte counts of 250 cells per mm3 or greater should receive empiric prophylaxis against spontaneous bacterial peritonitis with cefotaxime and albumin. Patients who survive an episode of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis should receive long-term prophylaxis with norfloxacin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. Patients with gastrointestinal hemorrhage and cirrhosis should receive norfloxacin or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole twice daily for seven days. Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy is directed toward improving mental status levels with lactulose; protein restriction is no longer recommended. Patients with cirrhosis and evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding should undergo upper endoscopy to evaluate for varices. Endoscopic banding is the standard treatment, but sclerotherapy with vasoconstrictors (e.g., octreotide) also may be used. Prophylaxis with propranolol is recommended in patients with cirrhosis once varices have been identified. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt has been effective in reducing portal hypertension and improving symptoms of hepatorenal syndrome, and can reduce gastrointestinal bleeding in patients with refractory variceal hemorrhage. When medical therapy for treatment of cirrhosis has failed, liver transplantation should be considered. Survival rates in transplant recipients have improved as a result of advances in immunosuppression and proper risk stratification using the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease and Child-Turcotte-Pugh scoring systems.
ABSTRACT: Cirrhosis and chronic liver failure are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States, with the majority of preventable cases attributed to excessive alcohol consumption, viral hepatitis, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Cirrhosis often is an indolent disease; most patients remain asymptomatic until the occurrence of decompensation, characterized by ascites, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, hepatic encephalopathy, or variceal bleeding from portal hypertension. Physical examination of patients with cirrhosis may reveal a variety of findings that necessitate a hepatic- or gastrointestinal-based work-up to determine the etiology. Some patients already may have had laboratory or radiographic tests that incidentally uncovered signs of cirrhosis and its comorbidities. No serologic or radiographic test can accurately diagnose cirrhosis. A significant correlation has been demonstrated between persistently elevated liver function tests and biopsy-proven underlying hepatic disease; thus, a more targeted serologic work-up is indicated in patients whose liver function test results are persistently abnormal. Unnecessary medications and surgical procedures should be avoided in patients with cirrhosis. Referral for liver biopsy should be considered only after a thorough, non-invasive serologic and radiographic evaluation has failed to confirm a diagnosis of cirrhosis; the benefit of biopsy outweighs the risk; and it is postulated that biopsy will have a favorable impact on the treatment of chronic liver disease.
ABSTRACT: Chronic foot pain is a common and often disabling clinical complaint that can interfere with a patient's routine activities. Despite careful and detailed clinical history and physical examination, providing an accurate diagnosis is often difficult because chronic foot pain has a broad spectrum of potential causes. Therefore, imaging studies play a key role in diagnosis and management. Initial assessment is typically done by plain radiography; however, magnetic resonance imaging has superior soft-tissue contrast resolution and multiplanar capability, which makes it important in the early diagnosis of ambiguous or clinically equivocal cases when initial radiographic findings are inconclusive. Computed tomography displays bony detail in stress fractures, as well as in arthritides and tarsal coalition. Bone scanning and ultrasonography also are useful tools for diagnosing specific conditions that produce chronic foot pain.