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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.
ABSTRACT: Antihypertensive therapy has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality in older patients with elevated systolic or diastolic blood pressures. This benefit appears to persist in patients older than 80 years, but less than one third of older patients have adequate blood pressure control. Systolic blood pressure is the most important predictor of cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure measurement in older persons should include an evaluation for orthostatic hypotension. Low-dose thiazide diuretics remain first-line therapy for older patients. Beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, and calcium channel blockers are second-line medications that should be selected based on comorbidities and risk factors.
ABSTRACT: Coronary heart disease remains a leading cause of mortality in the United States, with 84 percent of persons 65 years or older dying from this disease. Secondary preventive measures, including lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapy, are important for elderly patients because of the variable impacts on morbidity and mortality rates and quality of life. Participating in light to moderate activities significantly decreases mortality rates in elderly patients. Smoking cessation translates into a reduction in overall mortality and morbidity rates at least equal to that of other preventive measures such as aspirin or beta-blocker therapy. Recent studies on the effects of lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels to below 100 mg per dL have shown a substantial reduction in coronary heart disease mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction rates, with a persistent effect in patients older than 75 years. Hypertension, manifesting mostly as isolated systolic blood pressure elevation, also should be treated aggressively. Conventional medical therapies for hypertension (e.g., diuretics, beta blockers) and newer agents (e.g., calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors), together with sodium restriction, have had a positive effect on cardiovascular mortality and morbidity rates in older patients. With the increasing prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, interventions targeting weight reduction and glucose control should be emphasized. Whereas weight-loss strategies are poorly defined in this population, the management of diabetes through dietary modification, exercise, and medications is similar across age groups. The target hemoglobin A1C level is less than 7 percent. Elderly patients are prone to depression and social isolation, and they are more likely to have a lower socioeconomic status than younger patients, which may negatively affect participation in rehabilitation programs and compliance with medical advice and therapy. Strategies aimed at these factors have shown variable results and remain ill-defined.
Hypertension in Children and Adolescents - Article
ABSTRACT: The development of a national database on normative blood pressure levels throughout childhood has contributed to the recognition of elevated blood pressure in children and adolescents. The epidemic of childhood obesity, the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy, and evidence of the early development of atherosclerosis in children would make the detection of and intervention in childhood hypertension important to reduce long-term health risks; however, supporting data are lacking. Secondary hypertension is more common in preadolescent children, with most cases caused by renal disease. Primary or essential hypertension is more common in adolescents and has multiple risk factors, including obesity and a family history of hypertension. Evaluation involves a thorough history and physical examination, laboratory tests, and specialized studies. Management is multifaceted. Nonpharmacologic treatments include weight reduction, exercise, and dietary modifications. Recommendations for pharmacologic treatment are based on symptomatic hypertension, evidence of end-organ damage, stage 2 hypertension, stage 1 hypertension unresponsive to lifestyle modifications, and hypertension with diabetes mellitus.
Update on Exercise Stress Testing - Article
ABSTRACT: Exercise stress testing is an important diagnostic tool for the evaluation of suspected or known cardiac disease. In 2002, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) revised their guidelines for exercise testing. Ten categories from the ACC/ AHA 1997 guidelines were modified: ST heart rate adjustment, unstable angina, older patients, acute coronary syndromes, chest pain centers, acute myocardial infarction, asymptomatic patients, valvular heart disease, rhythm disturbances, and hypertension. Adjustment of the ST heart rate can identify myocardial ischemia in asymptomatic patients with elevated cardiac risk. Intermediate- and low-risk patients with unstable angina, acute coronary syndromes, or chest pain should undergo exercise stress testing when clinically stable. Provided they are stable, patients who have had acute myocardial infarction can undergo a submaximal exercise test before discharge or a symptom-limited exercise stress test any time after two to three weeks have elapsed. In asymptomatic patients with cardiac risk factors, the exercise stress test may provide valuable prognostic information. Aortic regurgitation is the only valvular heart disorder in which there is significant evidence that exercise stress testing is useful in management decisions. The stress test also can be used in older patients to identify the presence of coronary artery disease. However, because of other comorbidities, a pharmacologic stress test may be necessary. Exercise stress testing can help physicians successfully evaluate arrhythmia in patients with syncope. The exercise stress test also can help identify patients at risk of developing hypertension if they show an abnormal hypertensive response to exercise.
ABSTRACT: Home monitoring of blood glucose and blood pressure levels can provide patients and physicians with valuable information in the management of diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Home monitoring allows patients to play an active role in their care and may improve treatment adherence and clinical outcomes. Glucose meters currently on the market produce results within 15 percent of serum blood glucose readings and offer a variety of features. Although the data are somewhat conflicting, home glucose monitoring has been associated with improved glycemic control and reduced long-term complications from diabetes. These effects are more pronounced in patients who take insulin. Home blood pressure values predict target organ damage and cardiovascular outcomes better than values obtained in the office. Home blood pressure measurements are also effective at detecting borderline hypertension and monitoring the effectiveness of antihypertensive drugs. Validated arm cuffs are the preferred blood pressure devices for home use. Information from home monitoring should always be used in conjunction with that from regular office visits and other data to make appropriate therapeutic decisions.
ABSTRACT: Targeted therapies, which include monoclonal antibodies and small molecule inhibitors, have significantly changed the treatment of cancer over the past 10 years. These drugs are now a component of therapy for many common malignancies, including breast, colorectal, lung, and pancreatic cancers, as well as lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma. The mechanisms of action and toxicities of targeted therapies differ from those of traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy. Targeted therapies are generally better tolerated than traditional chemotherapy, but they are associated with several adverse effects, such as acneiform rash, cardiac dysfunction, thrombosis, hypertension, and proteinuria. Small molecule inhibitors are metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes and are subject to multiple drug interactions. Targeted therapy has raised new questions about the tailoring of cancer treatment to an individual patient's tumor, the assessment of drug effectiveness and toxicity, and the economics of cancer care. As more persons are diagnosed with cancer and as these patients live longer, primary care physicians will increasingly provide care for patients who have received targeted cancer therapy.
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.
Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy - Article
ABSTRACT: The National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group on High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy has defined four categories of hypertension in pregnancy: chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and preeclampsia superimposed on chronic hypertension. A maternal blood pressure measurement of 140/90 mm Hg or greater on two occasions before 20 weeks of gestation indicates chronic hypertension. Pharmacologic treatment is needed to prevent maternal end-organ damage from severely elevated blood pressure (150 to 180/100 to 110 mm Hg); treatment of mild to moderate chronic hypertension does not improve neonatal outcomes or prevent superimposed preeclampsia. Gestational hypertension is a provisional diagnosis for women with new-onset, nonproteinuric hypertension after 20 weeks of gestation; many of these women are eventually diagnosed with preeclampsia or chronic hypertension. Preeclampsia is the development of new-onset hypertension with proteinuria after 20 weeks of gestation. Adverse pregnancy outcomes related to severe preeclampsia are caused primarily by the need for preterm delivery. HELLP (i.e., hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count) syndrome is a form of severe preeclampsia with high rates of neonatal and maternal morbidity. Magnesium sulfate is the drug of choice to prevent and treat eclampsia. The use of magnesium sulfate for seizure prophylaxis in women with mild preeclampsia is controversial because of the low incidence of seizures in this population.
Antioxidant Supplements Do Not Improve Mortality and May Cause Harm - Cochrane for Clinicians