Items in AFP with MESH term: Medical History Taking
Evaluation of Acute Headaches in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Classifying headaches as primary (migraine, tension-type or cluster) or secondary can facilitate evaluation and management A detailed headache history helps to distinguish among the primary headache disorders. "Red flags" for secondary disorders include sudden onset of headache, onset of headache after 50 years of age, increased frequency or severity of headache, new onset of headache with an underlying medical condition, headache with concomitant systemic illness, focal neurologic signs or symptoms, papilledema and headache subsequent to head trauma. A thorough neurologic examination should be performed, with abnormal findings warranting neuroimaging to rule out intracranial pathology. The preferred imaging modality to rule out hemorrhage is noncontrast computed tomographic (CT) scanning followed by lumbar puncture if the CT scan is normal. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is more expensive than CT scanning and less widely available; however, MRI reveals more detail and is necessary for imaging the posterior fossa. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis can help to confirm or rule out hemorrhage, infection, tumor and disorders related to CSF hypertension or hypotension. Referral is appropriate for patients with headaches that are difficult to diagnose, or that worsen or fail to respond to management
Evaluating the Child for Sexual Abuse - Article
ABSTRACT: Child victims of sexual abuse may present with physical findings that can include anogenital problems, enuresis or encopresis. Behavioral changes may involve sexual acting out, aggression, depression, eating disturbances and regression. Because the examination findings of most child victims of sexual abuse are within normal limits or are nonspecific, the child's statements are extremely important. The child's history as obtained by the physician may be admitted as evidence in court trials; therefore, complete documentation of questions and answers is critical. A careful history should be obtained and a thorough physical examination should be performed with documentation of all findings. When examining the child's genitalia, it is important that the physician be familiar with normal variants, non-specific changes and diagnostic signs of sexual abuse. Judicious use of laboratory tests, along with appropriate therapy, should be individually tailored. Forensic evidence collection is indicated in certain cases. Referral for psychologic services is important because victims of abuse are more likely to have depression, anxiety disorders, behavioral problems and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Insulin Resistance Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: Insulin resistance can be linked to diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease and other abnormalities. These abnormalities constitute the insulin resistance syndrome. Because resistance usually develops long before these diseases appear, identifying and treating insulin-resistant patients has potentially great preventive value. Insulin resistance should be suspected in patients with a history of diabetes in first-degree relatives; patients with a personal history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome or impaired glucose tolerance; and obese patients, particularly those with abdominal obesity. Present treatment consists of sensible lifestyle changes, including weight loss to attain healthy body weight, 30 minutes of accumulated moderate-intensity physical activity per day and increased dietary fiber intake. Pharmacotherapy is not currently recommended for patients with isolated insulin resistance.
ABSTRACT: The diagnosis and initial management of urolithiasis have undergone considerable evolution in recent years. The application of noncontrast helical computed tomography (CT) in patients with suspected renal colic is one major advance. The superior sensitivity and specificity of helical CT allow urolithiasis to be diagnosed or excluded definitively and expeditiously without the potential harmful effects of contrast media. Initial management is based on three key concepts: (1) the recognition of urgent and emergency requirements for urologic consultation, (2) the provision of effective pain control using a combination of narcotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in appropriate patients and (3) an understanding of the impact of stone location and size on natural history and definitive urologic management. These concepts are discussed with reference to contemporary literature, with the goal of providing tools that family physicians can use in the emergency department or clinic.
Recognizing Spinal Cord Emergencies - Article
ABSTRACT: Physicians who work in primary care settings and emergency departments frequently evaluate patients with neck and back pain. Spinal cord emergencies are uncommon, but injury must be recognized early so that the diagnosis can be quickly confirmed and treatment can be instituted to possibly prevent permanent loss of function. The differential diagnosis includes spinal cord compression secondary to vertebral fracture or space-occupying lesion, spinal infection or abscess, vascular or hematologic damage, severe disc herniation and spinal stenosis. The most important information in the assessment of a possible spinal cord emergency comes from the history and the clinical evaluation. Physicians must look for "red flags"--key historical and clinical clues that increase the likelihood of a serious underlying disorder. In considering diagnostic tests, physicians should apply the principles outlined in an algorithm for the evaluation of low back pain prepared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research). Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging can clearly define anatomy, but these studies are costly and have a high false-positive rate. Referral of high-risk patients to a neurologist or spine specialist may be indicated.
ABSTRACT: Elderly patients with unintentional weight loss are at higher risk for infection, depression and death. The leading causes of involuntary weight loss are depression (especially in residents of long-term care facilities), cancer (lung and gastrointestinal malignancies), cardiac disorders and benign gastrointestinal diseases. Medications that may cause nausea and vomiting, dysphagia, dysgeusia and anorexia have been implicated. Polypharmacy can cause unintended weight loss, as can psychotropic medication reduction (i.e., by unmasking problems such as anxiety). A specific cause is not identified in approximately one quarter of elderly patients with unintentional weight loss. A reasonable work-up includes tests dictated by the history and physical examination, a fecal occult blood test, a complete blood count, a chemistry panel, an ultrasensitive thyroid-stimulating hormone test and a urinalysis. Upper gastrointestinal studies have a reasonably high yield in selected patients. Management is directed at treating underlying causes and providing nutritional support. Consideration should be given to the patient's environment and interest in and ability to eat food, the amelioration of symptoms and the provision of adequate nutrition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has labeled no appetite stimulants for the treatment of weight loss in the elderly.
Headaches in Children and Adolescents - Article
ABSTRACT: Headaches are common during childhood and become more common and increase in frequency during adolescence. The rational, cost-effective evaluation of children with headache begins with a careful history. The first step is to identify the temporal pattern of the headache--acute, acute-recurrent, chronic-progressive, chronic-nonprogressive, or mixed. The next step is a physical and neurologic examination focusing on the optic disc, eye movements, motor asymmetry, coordination, and reflexes. Neuroimaging is not routinely warranted in the evaluation of childhood headache and should be reserved for use in children with chronic-progressive patterns or abnormalities on neurologic examination. Once the headache diagnosis is established, management must be based on the frequency and severity of headache and the impact on the patient's lifestyle. Treatment of childhood migraine includes the intermittent use of oral analgesics and antiemetics and, occasionally, daily prophylactic agents. Often, the most important therapeutic intervention is confident reassurance about the absence of serious underlying neurologic disease.
Assessing Oral Malignancies - Article
ABSTRACT: Oral cancers account for approximately 3 percent of all cases of cancer in the United States. An estimated 30,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and about one half of them will eventually die of the disease. The most common type of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Sixty percent of oral cancers are well advanced by the time they are detected, even though physicians and dentists frequently examine the oral cavity. The two most important risk factors for oral cancer are tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption. The keys to reducing mortality are prevention and control. The earlier any intraoral or extraoral abnormalities or lesions are detected and biopsied, the more lives can be saved. Controversy exists whether screening programs effectively reduce the mortality rate. Specific step-by-step guidelines should be followed to perform an adequate examination of the head and neck.
ABSTRACT: The presence of family members at an office visit creates unique opportunities and challenges for the physician while interviewing the patient. The physician must address issues of confidentiality, privacy, and agency. Special skills are required to respectfully and efficiently involve family members, while keeping the patient at the center of the visit. A core set of interviewing skills exists for office visit interviews with family members present. These skills include building rapport with each participant by identifying their individual issues and perspectives, and encouraging participation by listening to and addressing the concerns of all persons. Physicians should also avoid triangulation, maintain confidentiality, and verify agreement with the plan. It may be necessary to use more advanced family interviewing skills, including providing direction despite problematic communications; managing conflict; negotiating common ground; and referring members to family therapy.
Evaluation of Dysuria in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Dysuria, defined as pain, burning, or discomfort on urination, is more common in women than in men. Although urinary tract infection is the most frequent cause of dysuria, empiric treatment with antibiotics is not always appropriate. Dysuria occurs more often in younger women, probably because of their greater frequency of sexual activity. Older men are more likely to have dysuria because of an increased incidence of prostatic hyperplasia with accompanying inflammation and infection. A comprehensive history and physical examination can often reveal the cause of dysuria. Urinalysis may not be needed in healthier patients who have uncomplicated medical histories and symptoms. In most patients, however, urinalysis can help to determine the presence of infection and confirm a suspected diagnosis. Urine cultures and both urethral and vaginal smears and cultures can help to identify sites of infection and causative agents. Coliform organisms, notably Escherichia coli, are the most common pathogens in urinary tract infection. Dysuria can also be caused by noninfectious inflammation or trauma, neoplasm, calculi, hypoestrogenism, interstitial cystitis, or psychogenic disorders. Although radiography and other forms of imaging are rarely needed, these studies may identify abnormalities in the upper urinary tract when symptoms are more complex.