Items in AFP with MESH term: Gastrointestinal Diseases
ABSTRACT: Chemical dependency is a common, chronic disease that affects up to 25 percent of patients seen in primary care practices. The treatment goal for patients recovering from chemical dependency should be to avoid relapse. This requires physicians to have an open, nonjudgmental attitude and specific expertise about the implications of addiction for other health problems. First-line treatment for chemical dependency should be nonpharmacologic, but when medication is necessary, physicians should avoid drugs that have the potential for abuse or addiction. Medications that sedate or otherwise impair judgment also should be avoided in the recovering patient. Psychiatric illnesses should be aggressively treated, because untreated symptoms increase the risk of relapse into chemical dependency. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help to lower alcohol consumption in depressed patients, and desipramine may help to facilitate abstinence in persons addicted to cocaine. If insomnia extends beyond the acute or postacute withdrawal period, trazodone may be an effective treatment. If nonpharmacologic management of pain is not possible, nonaddictive medications should be used. However, if non-addictive medications fail, long-acting opiates used under strict supervision may be considered. Uncontrolled pain in itself is a relapse risk.
ABSTRACT: Antiretroviral regimens are complicated and difficult for patients to follow, and they can have serious side effects, such as osteonecrosis and bone demineralization. Protease inhibitor therapy has been associated with hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, gastrointestinal symptoms, and body-fat distribution abnormalities. Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors can cause rashes and hepatotoxicity, and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors can cause lactic acidosis, hypersensitivity reactions, neuropathies, pancreatitis, anemia, and neutropenia. Malabsorption can occur if antiretroviral agents are taken improperly with regard to meals or if they are taken with certain other drugs or herbal remedies. Some commonly prescribed drugs can cause dangerous drug toxicities if they are taken by patients who are also taking certain antiretroviral medications. Suboptimal exposure to antiretrovirals because of noncompliance or malabsorption can result in viral resistance and loss of future treatment options.
ABSTRACT: When no organic cause for dyspepsia is found, the condition generally is considered to be functional, or idiopathic. Nonulcer dyspepsia can cause a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Many patients with nonulcer dyspepsia have multiple somatic complaints, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. Extensive diagnostic testing is not recommended, except in patients with serious risk factors such as dysphagia, protracted vomiting, anorexia, melena, anemia, or a palpable mass. In these patients, endoscopy should be considered to exclude gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic or duodenal ulcer, and gastric cancer. In patients without risk factors, consideration should be given to empiric therapy with a prokinetic agent (e.g., metoclopramide), an acid suppressant (histamine-H2 receptor antagonist), or an antimicrobial agent with activity against Helicobacter pylori. Treatment of patients with H. pylori infection and nonulcer dyspepsia (rather than peptic ulcer) is controversial and should be undertaken only when the pathogen has been identified. Psychotropic agents should be used in patients with comorbid anxiety or depression. Treatment of nonulcer dyspepsia can be challenging because of the need to balance medical management strategies with treatments for psychologic or functional disease.
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: Persons with mental retardation are living longer and integrating into their communities. Primary medical care of persons with mental retardation should involve continuity of care, maintenance of comprehensive treatment documentation, routine periodic health screening, and an understanding of the unique medical and behavioral disorders common to this population. Office visits can be successful if physicians familiarize patients with the office and staff, plan for difficult behaviors, and administer mild sedation when appropriate. Some syndromes that cause mental retardation have specific medical and behavioral features. Health issues in these patients include respiratory problems, gastrointestinal disorders, challenging behaviors, and neurologic conditions. Some commonly overlooked health concerns are sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, and end-of-life decisions.
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.
ABSTRACT: Weight loss late in the course of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease is common and often multifactorial. Increased energy expenditure in response to opportunistic disease, as well as to HIV infection itself, can lead to protein-calorie malnutrition similar to that observed in starvation. Weight loss of as little as 5 percent in patients with HIV infection is associated with an increased risk of disease progression. Loss of body cell mass carries a particularly poor prognosis, and aggressive measures should be taken to stop such depletion. Patients exhibiting unexpected weight loss should be carefully examined to exclude decreased food intake, malabsorption, occult infection or neoplasm as the etiology of the weight loss. Early aggressive treatment of HIV disease and underlying opportunistic pathology, along with adequate pharmacologic, hormonal, nutritional and physical therapy, can often restore normal weight and body composition.
Probiotics - Article
ABSTRACT: Probiotics are microorganisms with potential health benefits. They may be used to prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea and acute infectious diarrhea. They may also be effective in relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and in treating atopic dermatitis in children. Species commonly used include Lactobacillus sp., Bifidobacterium sp., Streptococcus thermophilus, and Saccharomyces boulardii. Typical dosages vary based on the product, but common dosages range from 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units per day for children, and from 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units per day for adults. Significant adverse effects are rare, and there are no known interactions with medications.
The Pretravel Consultation - Article
ABSTRACT: The increase in travel and travel medicine knowledge over the past 30 years makes pretravel counseling an essential part of comprehensive family medicine. Effective counseling begins with assessment of individual and itinerary-based risks, using a growing body of evidence-based decision-support tools and resources. Counseling recommendations should be tailored to the patient's risk tolerance and experience. An essential component of the pretravel consultation includes reviewing routine and destination-specific immunizations. In addition to implementing behavioral adaptations, travelers can guard against vectorborne disease by using N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET, 30%), a safe and effective insect repellent. Patients should also receive malarial chemoprophylaxis when traveling to areas of risk. Proper precautions can reduce the risk of food- and waterborne disease. Travelers should take appropriate precautions when traveling to high altitudes. Strategies for minimizing the risk of deep venous thrombosis during air travel include keeping mobile and wearing compression stockings. Accident avoidance and coping strategies for health problems that occur while abroad are also important components of the pretravel consultation.