Items in AFP with MESH term: Family Practice
ABSTRACT: Family physicians are frequently asked to complete disability certification forms for workers. The certification process can be contentious because of the number of stakeholders, the varying definitions of disability and the nature of the administrative systems. Insufficient training on disability during medical school and residency complicates this process. Disability systems discussed include workers' compensation, private disability insurance, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Strategies that help the physician complete disability certification forms effectively include identification of disability type, ascertainment of the definition of disability being applied, evaluation of workplace demands and essential job functions, assessment of worker capacity, and accurate and timely completion of the forms in their entirety.
ABSTRACT: Osteoarthritis is one of the most prevalent and disabling chronic conditions affecting older adults and a significant public health problem among adults of working age. As the bulk of the U.S. population ages, the prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to rise. Although the incidence of osteoarthritis increases with age, the condition is not a normal part of the aging process. More severe symptoms tend to occur in the radiographically more advanced stage of the disease; however, considerable discrepancy may exist between symptoms and the radiographic stage. Roentgenograms of involved joints may be useful in confirming the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, assessing the severity of the disease, reassuring the patient and excluding other pathologic conditions. The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is based primarily on the history and physical examination, but radiographic findings, including asymmetric joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis, osteophyte formation, subluxation and distribution patterns of osteoarthritic changes, can be helpful when the diagnosis is in question.
ABSTRACT: Obesity is a complex, multifactorial condition in which excess body fat may put a person at health risk. National data indicate that the prevalence of obesity in the United States is increasing in children and adults. Reversing these trends requires changes in individual behavior and the elimination of societal barriers to healthy lifestyle choices. Basic treatment of overweight and obese patients requires a comprehensive approach involving diet and nutrition, regular physical activity, and behavioral change, with an emphasis on long-term weight management rather than short-term extreme weight reduction. Physicians and other health professionals have an important role in promoting preventive measures and encouraging positive lifestyle behaviors, as well as identifying and treating obesity-related comorbidities. Health professionals also have a role in counseling patients about safe and effective weight loss and weight maintenance programs. Recent evidence-based guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, as well as recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/American College of Endocrinology, American Obesity Association, U.S. Clinical Preventive Services Task Force, Institute of Medicine, and World Health Organization can be consulted for information and guidance on the identification and management of overweight and obese patients.
Management of Asthma in Children - Article
ABSTRACT: The prevalence of asthma in children has increased 160 percent since 1980, and the disease currently affects nearly 5 million children in the United States. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program provides guidelines for improved asthma care. The goals of this program are to limit the frequency, severity and costliness of asthma exacerbations through extensive education of physicians, children and caregivers. The four components of asthma management include regular assessment and monitoring, control of factors that contribute to or aggravate symptoms, pharmacologic therapy and education of children and their caregivers. The guidelines recommend a stepwise approach to pharmacologic treatment, starting with aggressive therapy to achieve control and followed by a "step down" to the minimal therapy that will maintain control. Quick relief of symptoms can be achieved preferentially by the use of short-acting beta2 agonists. Medications for long-term control should be considered for use in children with persistent symptoms. Inhaled corticosteroids are the most potent long-term anti-inflammatory medications. Other options include long-acting beta2 agonists, cromolyn sodium and nedocromil, antileukotriene agents and theophylline. All have advantages and disadvantages in individual situations.
Groin Injuries in Athletes - Article
ABSTRACT: Groin injuries comprise 2 to 5 percent of all sports injuries. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are important to prevent these injuries from becoming chronic and potentially career-limiting. Adductor strains and osteitis pubis are the most common musculoskeletal causes of groin pain in athletes. These two conditions are often difficult to distinguish. Other etiologies of groin pain include sports hernia, groin disruption, iliopsoas bursitis, stress fractures, avulsion fractures, nerve compression and snapping hip syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Adolescent onset of severe idiopathic scoliosis has traditionally been evaluated using standing posteroanterior radiographs of the full spine to assess lateral curvature with the Cobb method. The most tilted vertebral bodies above and below the apex of the spinal curve are used to create intersecting lines that give the curve degree. This definition is controversial, and patients do not exhibit clinically significant respiratory symptoms with idiopathic scoliosis until their curves are 60 to 100 degrees. There is no difference in the prevalence of back pain or mortality between patients with untreated adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and the general population. Therefore, many patients referred to physicians for evaluation of scoliosis do not need radiographic evaluation, back examinations, or treatment. Consensus recommendations for population screening, evaluation, and treatment of this disorder by medical organizations vary widely. Recent studies cast doubt on the clinical value of school-based screening programs.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians play a key role in assessing and managing patients with Alzheimer's disease and in linking the families of these patients to supportive services within the community. As part of comprehensive management, the family physician may be responsible for coordinating assessments of patient function, cognition, comorbid medical conditions, disorders of mood and emotion, and caregiver status. Suggestions for easily administered and scored assessment tools are provided, and practical tips are given for supporting primary caregivers, thereby increasing efficiency and quality of care for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT: Antibiotic resistance was once confined primarily to hospitals but is becoming increasingly prevalent in family practice settings, making daily therapeutic decisions more challenging. Recent reports of pediatric deaths and illnesses in communities in the United States have raised concerns about the implications and future of antibiotic resistance. Because 20 percent to 50 percent of antibiotic prescriptions in community settings are believed to be unnecessary, primary care physicians must adjust their prescribing behaviors to ensure that the crisis does not worsen. Clinicians should not accommodate patient demands for unnecessary antibiotics and should take steps to educate patients about the prudent use of these drugs. Prescriptions for targeted-spectrum antibiotics, when appropriate, can help preserve the normal susceptible flora. Antimicrobials intended for the treatment of bacterial infections should not be used to manage viral illnesses. Local resistance trends may be used to guide prescribing decisions.
Fishhook Removal - Article
ABSTRACT: Fishing is a common recreational sport. While serious injuries are uncommon, penetrating tissue trauma involving fishhooks frequently occurs. Most of these injuries are minor and can be treated in the office without difficulty. All fishhook injuries require careful evaluation of surrounding tissue before attempting removal. Ocular involvement should prompt immediate referral to an ophthalmologist. The four most common techniques of fishhook removal and injury management are described in this article. The choice of the method for fishhook removal depends on the type of fishhook embedded, the location of the injury and the depth of tissue penetration. Occasionally, more than one removal technique may be required for removal of the fishhook. The retrograde technique is the simplest but least successful removal method, while the traditional advance and cut method is most effective for removing fishhooks that are embedded close to the skin surface. The advance and cut technique is almost always successful, even for removal of large fishhooks. The string-yank method can be used in the field and can often be performed without anesthesia. Wound care following successful removal involves extraction of foreign bodies from the wound and the application of a simple dressing. Prophylactic antibiotics are generally not indicated. Tetanus status should be assessed and toxoid administered if needed.
ABSTRACT: Neurologic complications continue to pose problems in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. From 15 to 30 percent of metastases are the result of prostate cancer cells traveling through Batson's plexus to the lumbar spine. Metastatic disease in the lumbar area can cause spinal cord compression. Metastasis to the dura and adjacent parenchyma occurs in 1 to 2 percent of patients with metastatic prostate cancer and is more common in those with tumors that do not respond to hormone-deprivation therapy. Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, the most frequent form of brain metastasis in prostate cancer, has a grim prognosis. Because neurologic complications of metastatic prostate cancer require prompt treatment, early recognition is important. Physicians should consider metastasis in the differential diagnosis of new-onset low back pain or headache in men more than 50 years of age. Spinal cord compression requires immediate treatment with intravenously administered corticosteroids and pain relievers, as well as prompt referral to an oncologist for further treatment.