Items in AFP with MESH term: Health Behavior
Preconception Health Care - Article
ABSTRACT: Appropriate preconception health care improves pregnancy outcomes. When started at least one month before conception, folic acid supplements can prevent neural tube defects. Targeted genetic screening and counseling should be offered on the basis of age, ethnic background, or family history. Before conception, women should be screened for human immunodeficiency virus and syphilis infection and begin treatment to prevent the transmission of disease to the fetus. Immunizations against hepatitis B, rubella, and varicella should be completed, if needed. Women should be counseled on ways to prevent infection with toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, and parvovirus B19. Environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke, alcohol, and street drugs, and chemicals such as solvents and pesticides should be avoided. In women with diabetes, it is important to optimize disease control through intensive management before pregnancy. Medications for hypertension, epilepsy, thromboembolism, depression, and anxiety should be reviewed and changed, if necessary, before the patient becomes pregnant. Counseling about exercise, obesity, nutritional deficiencies, and the overuse of vitamins A and D is beneficial. Physicians may also choose to discuss occupational and financial issues related to pregnancy and to screen patients for domestic violence.
ABSTRACT: From 2 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age have severe distress and dysfunction caused by premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. Current research implicates mechanisms of serotonin as relevant to etiology and treatment. Patients with mild to moderate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome may benefit from nonpharmacologic interventions such as education about the disorder, lifestyle changes, and nutritional adjustments. However, patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder and those who fail to respond to more conservative measures may also require pharmacologic management, typically beginning with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This drug class seems to reduce emotional, cognitive-behavioral, and physical symptoms, and improve psychosocial functioning. Serotoninergic antidepressants such as fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline, and clomipramine are effective when used intermittently during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Treatment strategies specific to the luteal phase may reduce cost, long-term side effects, and risk of discontinuation syndrome. Patients who do not respond to a serotoninergic antidepressant may be treated with another selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Low-dose alprazolam, administered intermittently during the luteal phase, may be considered as a second-line treatment. A therapeutic trial with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or danazol may be considered when other treatments are ineffective. However, the risk of serious side effects and the cost of these medications limit their use to short periods.
ABSTRACT: Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are common diseases in the United States. Patients with diabetes have a much higher rate of hypertension than would be expected in the general population. Regardless of the antihypertensive agent used, a reduction in blood pressure helps to prevent diabetic complications. Barring contraindications, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are considered first-line therapy in patients with diabetes and hypertension because of their well-established renal protective effects. Calcium channel blockers, low-dose diuretics, beta blockers, and alpha blockers have also been studied in this group. Most diabetic patients with hypertension require combination therapy to achieve optimal blood pressure goals.
ABSTRACT: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published updated guidelines that provide new strategies for the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Patient education is the first important step in reducing the number of persons who engage in risky sexual behaviors. Information on STD prevention should be individualized on the basis of the patient's stage of development and understanding of sexual issues. Other preventive strategies include administering the hepatitis B vaccine series to unimmunized patients who present for STD evaluation and administering hepatitis A vaccine to illegal drug users and men who have sex with men. The CDC recommends against using any form of nonoxynol 9 for STD prevention. New treatment strategies include avoiding the use of quinolone therapy in patients who contract gonorrhea in California or Hawaii. Testing for cure is not necessary if chlamydial infection is treated with a first-line antibiotic (azithromycin or doxycycline). However, all women should be retested three to four months after treatment for chlamydial infection, because of the high incidence of reinfection. Testing for herpes simplex virus serotype is advised in patients with genital infection, because recurrent infection is less likely with the type 1 serotype than with the type 2 serotype. The CDC guidelines also include new information on the treatment of diseases characterized by vaginal discharge.
ABSTRACT: The leading causes of adolescent mortality are accidents (death from unintentional injury), homicide, and suicide. Additional morbidity is related to drug, tobacco, and alcohol use; risky sexual behaviors; poor nutrition; and inadequate physical activity. One third of adolescents engage in at least one of these high-risk behaviors. Physicians should specifically target these risk factors with preventive counseling, although adolescents may be reluctant to initiate discussions about risky behaviors because of confidentiality concerns. The key to providing relevant and useful preventive counseling for adolescent patients is developing the trust necessary to discuss the specific issues that impact this age group.
Changing Patient Health-Risk Behavior Requires New Investment in Primary Care - Graham Center Policy One-Pagers
ABSTRACT: Evidence supports the effectiveness of primary care interventions to improve nutrition, increase physical activity levels, reduce alcohol intake, and stop tobacco use. However, implementing these interventions requires considerable practice expense. If we hope to change behavior to reduce chronic illness, the way we pay for primary care services must be modified to incorporate these expenses.
ABSTRACT: Although it is often unrecognized, family physicians provide a significant amount of mental health care in the United States. Time is one of the major obstacles to providing counseling in primary care. Counseling approaches developed specifically for ambulatory patients and traditional psychotherapies modified for primary care are efficient first-line treatments. For some clinical conditions, providing individualized feedback alone leads to improvement. The five A's (ask, advise, assess, assist, arrange) and FRAMES (feedback about personal risk, responsibility of patient, advice to change, menu of strategies, empathetic style, promote self-efficacy) techniques are stepwise protocols that are effective for smoking cessation and reducing excessive alcohol consumption. These models can be adapted to address other problems, such as treatment nonadherence. Although both approaches are helpful to patients who are ready to change, they are less likely to be successful in patients who are ambivalent or who have broader psychosocial problems. For patients who are less committed to changing health risk behavior or increasing healthy behavior, the stages-of-change approach and motivational interviewing address barriers. Patients with psychiatric conditions and acute psychosocial stressors will likely respond to problem-solving therapy or the BATHE (background, affect, troubles, handling, empathy) technique. Although brief primary care counseling has been effective, patients who do not fully respond to the initial intervention should receive multimodal therapy or be referred to a mental health professional.
Does Health Habit Advice Affect Patient Satisfaction? - Improving Patient Care
ABSTRACT: Regular exercise provides a myriad of health benefits in older adults, including improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, lipid profile, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and neurocognitive function. Regular physical activity is also associated with decreased mortality and age-related morbidity in older adults. Despite this, up to 75 percent of older Americans are insufficiently active to achieve these health benefits. Few contraindications to exercise exist and almost all older persons can benefit from additional physical activity. The exercise prescription consists of three components: aerobic exercise, strength training, and balance and flexibility. Physicians play a key role in motivating older patients and advising them regarding their physical limitations and/or comorbidities. Motivating patients to begin exercise is best achieved by focusing on individual patient goals, concerns, and barriers to exercise. Strategies include the "stages of change" model, individualized behavioral therapy, and an active lifestyle. To increase long-term compliance, the exercise prescription should be straightforward, fun, and geared toward a patient's individual health needs, beliefs, and goals.
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.