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Common Hair Loss Disorders - Article
ABSTRACT: Hair loss (alopecia) affects men and women of all ages and often significantly affects social and psychologic well-being. Although alopecia has several causes, a careful history, dose attention to the appearance of the hair loss, and a few simple studies can quickly narrow the potential diagnoses. Androgenetic alopecia, one of the most common forms of hair loss, usually has a specific pattern of temporal-frontal loss in men and central thinning in women. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved topical minoxidil to treat men and women, with the addition of finasteride for men. Telogen effluvium is characterized by the loss of "handfuls" of hair, often following emotional or physical stressors. Alopecia areata, trichotillomania, traction alopecia, and tinea capitis have unique features on examination that aid in diagnosis. Treatment for these disorders and telogen effluvium focuses on resolution of the underlying cause.
ABSTRACT: Heart failure caused by systolic dysfunction affects more than 5 million adults in the United States and is a common source of outpatient visits to primary care physicians. Mortality rates are high, yet a number of pharmacologic interventions may improve outcomes. Other interventions, including patient education, counseling, and regular self-monitoring, are critical, but are beyond the scope of this article. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta blockers reduce mortality and should be administered to all patients unless contraindicated. Diuretics are indicated for symptomatic patients as needed for volume overload. Aldosterone antagonists and direct-acting vasodilators, such as isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine, may improve mortality in selected patients. Angiotensin receptor blockers can be used as an alternative therapy for patients intolerant of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and in some patients who are persistently symptomatic. Digoxin may improve symptoms and is helpful for persons with concomitant atrial fibrillation, but it does not reduce cardiovascular or all-cause mortality. Serum digoxin levels should not exceed 1.0 ng per mL (1.3 nmol per L), especially in women.
ABSTRACT: Pulmonary arterial hypertension is defined as a mean pulmonary arterial pressure greater than 25 mm Hg at rest or 30 mm Hg during physical activity. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is classified into subgroups, including idiopathic, heritable, and pulmonary arterial hypertension associated with other conditions. A detailed history, thorough physical examination, and most importantly, a high index of suspicion are essential to diagnosis. Evaluation includes echocardiography and exclusion of other causes of symptoms. Targeted laboratory testing can help identify the subgroup of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Right heart catheterization is required to confirm the diagnosis. Standard treatment options include oral anticoagulation, diuretics, oxygen supplementation, and for a small percentage of patients, calcium channel blockers. Newer treatments include prostacyclin analogues, endothelin receptor antagonists, and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. Combination therapy has been shown to improve pulmonary arterial pressure, but more research is needed. Interventional procedures for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension include balloon atrial septostomy and lung transplantation.
ABSTRACT: With the introduction of effective pharmacologic therapies for erectile dysfunction, more men are seeking treatment. The underlying cause of erectile dysfunction is usually a chronic medical illness or a side effect of certain drugs. Less commonly, the problem is psychogenic. Even after optimal treatment of common medical disorders such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, erectile dysfunction may persist. Pharmacologic treatments, such as the intracavernosal or transurethral administration of alprostadil or the use of the new oral medication sildenafil, may offer patients substantial benefit. Before any of these drugs are prescribed, consideration should be given to existing medical illnesses and medications, partner satisfaction, comfort with the method of administration and the side effect profile.
ABSTRACT: Except for a small subset of patients with angina whose survival is improved with coronary artery bypass surgery, chronic stable angina can be appropriately managed with medical therapy in the vast majority of patients. Drug therapy includes aspirin, beta-adrenergic blockers, cholesterol-lowering agents and other anti-ischemic drugs that can ameliorate angina and improve the patient's quality of life. Understanding how and when to use these medicines involves knowledge of the mechanisms of these drugs as well as familiarity with the literature supporting their efficacy in various patient populations.
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.