ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
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.
ABSTRACT: Physicians face several barriers to counseling their patients about nutrition, including conflicting evidence of the benefit of counseling, limited training and understanding of the topic, and imperfect and varied guidelines to follow. Because cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in industrialized nations, family physicians should provide more than pharmacologic interventions. They must identify the patient's dietary habits and attitudes and provide appropriate counseling. Tools are available to help, and a seven-step approach to nutritional therapy for the dyslipidemic patient may be useful. These steps include recommending increased intake of plant proteins; increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids; modification of the types of oils used in food preparation; decreased intake of saturated and trans-fatty acids; increased intake of whole grains and dietary fiber (especially soluble fiber) and decreased intake of refined grains; modification of alcohol intake, if needed; and regular exercise. Recommendations should be accompanied by patient information handouts presenting acceptable substitutions for currently identified detrimental food choices.
Infant Formula - Article
ABSTRACT: Although the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend breast milk for optimal infant nutrition, many parents still choose formula as an acceptable alternative. The wide variety of available formulas is confusing to parents and physicians, but formulas can be classified according to three basic criteria: caloric density, carbohydrate source, and protein composition. Most infants require a term formula with iron. There is insufficient evidence to recommend supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid or arachidonic acid. Soy formulas are indicated for congenital lactase deficiency and galactosemia, but are not recommended for colic because of insufficient evidence of benefit. Hypoallergenic formulas with extensively hydrolyzed protein are effective for the treatment of milk protein allergy and the prevention of atopic disease in high-risk infants. Antireflux formulas decrease emesis and regurgitation, but have not been shown to affect growth or development. Most infants with reflux require no treatment. Family physicians can use these guidelines to counsel parents about infant formula, countering consumer advertising that is not evidence-based.
Specialized Nutrition Support - Article
ABSTRACT: Specialized nutrition support should be offered to patients who are malnourished or at risk of becoming malnour- ished when it would benefit patient outcomes or quality of life. Improving the nutritional value of ingested food and tailoring intake to the patient’s preferences, abilities, and schedule should be the first measures in addressing nutritional needs. When these interventions alone are insufficient to meet nutritional requirements, oral nutritional supplements should be considered. Nutritional status should be evaluated in patients before specialized nutrition sup- port is considered. Enteral nutrition is used when patients have a functional gastrointestinal tract but are unable to safely swallow. Although a variety of enteral formulas are available, evidence for choosing a specific formula is often lacking. Parenteral nutrition should be used only when enteral nutrition is not feasible. There are no known benefits of parenteral nutrition over the enteral route, and the risk of serious complications is much greater with parenteral nutrition. Even when the parenteral route is necessary, some enteral nutrition is beneficial when possible. Specialized nutrition support can provide an effective bridge until patients are able to return to normal food and, in rare cases, may be continued as long-term home enteral or parenteral nutrition. Specialized nutrition support is not obligatory and can be harmful in cases of futile care and at the end of life.
Nutrition and Health - Editorials
ABSTRACT: The association between nutrition and health has been clearly documented. Primary care physicians are expected to address nutrition and dietary behavior issues with their patients in the context of a brief clinical encounter. This article proposes the use of a short interview form, with specific suggestions for behavior changes that family physicians can use to help their patients meet currently accepted dietary guidelines. Answers to the questions on the interview form provide the physician with an overall sense of the patient's daily eating habits and help to identify major sources of saturated fat in the patient's diet. The patient is asked about the number of meals and snacks eaten in a 24-hour period, dining-out habits and frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, dairy products and desserts. Documentation of dietary changes can be accomplished using the suggested nutrition history form, and improvements in nutritional status can be measured using weight, blood pressure and laboratory test data.
Preoperative Evaluation - Article
ABSTRACT: A history and physical examination, focusing on risk factors for cardiac, pulmonary and infectious complications, and a determination of a patient's functional capacity, are essential to any preoperative evaluation. In addition, the type of surgery influences the overall perioperative risk and the need for further cardiac evaluation. Routine laboratory studies are rarely helpful except to monitor known disease states. Patients with good functional capacity do not require preoperative cardiac stress testing in most surgical cases. Unstable angina, myocardial infarction within six weeks and aortic or peripheral vascular surgery place a patient into a high-risk category for perioperative cardiac complications. Patients with respiratory disease may benefit from perioperative use of bronchodilators or steroids. Patients at increased risk of pulmonary complications should receive instruction in deep-breathing exercises or incentive spirometry. Assessment of nutritional status should be performed. An albumin level of less than 3.2 mg per dL (32 g per L) suggests an increased risk of complications. Patients deemed at risk because of compromised nutritional status may benefit from pre- and postoperative nutritional supplementation.
The Geriatric Assessment - Article
ABSTRACT: The geriatric assessment is a multidimensional, multidisciplinary assessment designed to evaluate an older person’s functional ability, physical health, cognition and mental health, and socioenvironmental circumstances. It is usually initiated when the physician identifies a potential problem. Specific elements of physical health that are evaluated include nutrition, vision, hearing, fecal and urinary continence, and balance. The geriatric assessment aids in the diagnosis of medical conditions; development of treatment and follow-up plans; coordination of management of care; and evaluation of long-term care needs and optimal placement. The geriatric assessment differs from a standard medical evaluation by including nonmedical domains; by emphasizing functional capacity and quality of life; and, often, by incorporating a multidisciplinary team. It usually yields a more complete and relevant list of medical problems, functional problems, and psychosocial issues. Well-validated tools and survey instruments for evaluating activities of daily living, hearing, fecal and urinary continence, balance, and cognition are an important part of the geriatric assessment. Because of the demands of a busy clinical practice, most geriatric assessments tend to be less comprehensive and more problem-directed. When multiple concerns are presented, the use of a “rolling” assessment over several visits should be considered.