Items in AFP with MESH term: Primary Health Care

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In Pursuit of Perfection: A Primary Care Physician's Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder - Article

ABSTRACT: Body dysmorphic disorder is an under-recognized chronic problem that is defined as an excessive preoccupation with an imagined or a minor defect of a localized facial feature or body part, resulting in decreased social, academic and occupational functioning. Patients who have body dysmorphic disorder are preoccupied with an ideal body image and view themselves as ugly or misshapen. Comorbid psychiatric disorders may also be present in these patients. Body dysmorphic disorder is distinguished from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa that encompass a preoccupation with overall body shape and weight. Psychosocial and neurochemical factors, specifically serotonin dysfunction, are postulated etiologies. Treatment approaches include cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and psychotropic medication. To relieve the symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, in higher dosages than those typically recommended for other psychiatric disorders, may be necessary. A trusting relationship between the patient and the family physician may encourage compliance with medical treatment and bridge the transition to psychiatric intervention.


Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach - Article

ABSTRACT: Smell and taste disorders are common in the general population, with loss of smell occurring more frequently. Although these disorders can have a substantial impact on quality of life and may represent significant underlying disease, they are often overlooked by the medical community. Patients may have difficulty recognizing smell versus taste dysfunction and frequently confuse the concepts of "flavor" and "taste." While the most common causes of smell disturbance are nasal and sinus disease, upper respiratory infection and head trauma, frequent causes of taste disturbance include oral infections, oral appliances (e.g., dentures), dental procedures and Bell's palsy. Medications can interfere with smell and taste, and should be reviewed in all patients with reported dysfunction. In addition, advancing age has been associated with a natural impairment of smell and taste ability. A focused history and a physical examination of the nose and mouth are usually sufficient to screen for underlying pathology. Computed tomographic scanning or magnetic resonance imaging of affected areas, as well as commercially available standardized tests, may be useful in selected patients. The causes of olfactory dysfunction that are most amenable to treatment include obstructing polyps or other masses (treated by excision) and inflammation (treated with steroids). Enhancement of food flavor and appearance can improve quality of life in patients with irreversible dysfunction.


A Primary Care Approach to the Patient with Claudication - Article

ABSTRACT: Peripheral arterial occlusive disease occurs in about 18 percent of persons over 70 years of age. Usually, patients who have this disease present with intermittent claudication with pain in the calf, thigh or buttock that is elicited by exertion and relieved with a few minutes of rest. The disease may also present in a subacute or acute fashion. Symptoms of ischemic rest pain, ulceration or gangrene may be present at the most advanced stage of the disease. In most cases, the underlying etiology is atherosclerotic disease of the arteries. In caring for these patients, the primary care physician should focus on evaluation, risk factor modification and exercise. The physician should consider referral to a vascular subspecialist when symptoms progress or are severe. While the prognosis for the affected limb is quite good, patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease are at increased risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. Therefore, treatment measures should address overall vascular health.


Treatment of Psoriasis: An Algorithm-Based Approach for Primary Care Physicians - Article

ABSTRACT: Psoriasis is characterized by red, thickened plaques with a silvery scale. The lesions vary in size and degree of inflammation. Psoriasis is categorized as localized or generalized, based on the severity of the disease and its overall impact on the patient's quality of life and well-being. Patient education about the disease and the treatment options is important. Medical treatment for localized psoriasis begins with a combination of topical corticosteroids and coal tar or calcipotriene. For lesions that are difficult to control with initial therapy, anthralin or tazarotene may be tried. The primary goal of therapy is to maintain control of the lesions. Cure is seldom achieved. If control becomes difficult or if psoriasis is generalized, the patient may benefit from phototherapy, systemic therapy and referral to a physician who specializes in the treatment of psoriasis.


The Geriatric Patient: A Systematic Approach to Maintaining Health - Article

ABSTRACT: The number of persons 65 years of age and older continues to increase dramatically in the United States. Comprehensive health maintenance screening of this population is becoming an important task for primary care physicians. As outlined by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, assessment categories unique to elderly patients include sensory perception and injury prevention. Geriatric patients are at higher risk of falling for a number of reasons, including postural hypotension, balance or gait impairment, polypharmacy (more than three prescription medications) and use of sedative-hypnotic medications. Interventional areas that are common to other age groups but have special implications for older patients include immunizations, diet and exercise, and sexuality. Cognitive ability and mental health issues should also be evaluated within the context of the individual patient's social situation-not by screening all patients but by being alert to the occurrence of any change in mental function. Using an organized approach to the varied aspects of geriatric health, primary care physicians can improve the care that they provide for their older patients.


Primary Care Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder - Article

ABSTRACT: Post-traumatic stress disorder, a psychiatric disorder, arises following exposure to perceived life-threatening trauma. Its symptoms can mimic those of anxiety or depressive disorders, but with appropriate screening, the diagnosis is easily made. Current treatment strategies combine patient education; pharmacologic interventions, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, trazodone and clonidine; and psychotherapy. As soon after the trauma as possible, techniques to prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as structured stress debriefings, should be administered. A high index of suspicion for post-traumatic stress disorder is needed in patients with a history of significant trauma.


Screening Instruments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Point-of-Care Guides


Chronic Nonmalignant Pain in Primary Care - Article

ABSTRACT: A systematic approach to chronic nonmalignant pain includes a comprehensive evaluation; a treatment plan determined by the diagnosis and mechanisms underlying the pain; patient education; and realistic goal setting. The main goal of treatment is to improve quality of life while decreasing pain. An initial comprehensive pain assessment is essential in developing a treatment plan that addresses the physical, social, functional, and psychological needs of the patient. One obstacle to appropriate pain management is managing the adverse effects of medication. Opioids pose challenges with abuse, addiction, diversion, lack of knowledge, concerns about adverse effects, and fears of regulatory scrutiny. These challenges may be overcome by adherence to the Federation of State Medical Boards guidelines, use of random urine drug screening, monitoring for aberrant behaviors, and anticipating adverse effects. When psychiatric comorbidities are present, risk of substance abuse is high and pain management may require specialized treatment or consultation. Referral to a pain management specialist can be helpful.


Fatigue: An Overview - Article

ABSTRACT: Fatigue, a common presenting symptom in primary care, negatively impacts work performance, family life, and social relationships. The differential diagnosis of fatigue includes lifestyle issues, physical conditions, mental disorders, and treatment side effects. Fatigue can be classified as secondary to other medical conditions, physiologic, or chronic. The history and physical examination should focus on identifying common secondary causes (e.g., medications, anemia, pregnancy) and life-threatening problems, such as cancer. Results of laboratory studies affect management in only 5 percent of patients, and if initial results are normal, repeat testing is generally not indicated. Treatment of all types of fatigue should include a structured plan for regular physical activity that consists of stretching and aerobic exercise, such as walking. Caffeine and modafinil may be useful for episodic situations requiring alertness. Short naps are proven performance enhancers. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, or sertraline, may improve energy in patients with depression. Patients with chronic fatigue may respond to cognitive behavior therapy. Scheduling regular follow-up visits, rather than sporadic urgent appointments, is recommended for effective long-term management.


Will Patients Find Diversity in the Medical Home? - Graham Center Policy One-Pagers

ABSTRACT: Mexican Americans and blacks experience disparities in health outcomes relative to white populations. During the past five to 10 years, fewer blacks and Mexican Americans are going to medical school and entering primary care professions. To assure the availability of a patient-centered medical home for all Americans, policy makers must work to support a culturally competent and diverse primary care workforce.


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