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ABSTRACT: Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition that results in significant morbidity and mortality. Because of the important role the kidneys play in maintaining homeostasis, chronic kidney disease can affect almost every body system. Early recognition and intervention are essential to slowing disease progression, maintaining quality of life, and improving outcomes. Family physicians have the opportunity to screen at-risk patients, identify affected patients, and ameliorate the impact of chronic kidney disease by initiating early therapy and monitoring disease progression. Aggressive blood pressure control, with a goal of 130/80 mm Hg or less, is recommended in patients with chronic kidney disease. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-II receptor antagonists are most effective because of their unique ability to decrease proteinuria. Hyperglycemia should be treated; the goal is an AIC concentration below 7 percent. In patients with dyslipidemia, statin therapy is appropriate to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Anemia should be treated, with a target hemoglobin concentration of 11 to 12 g per dL (110 to 120 g per L). Hyperparathyroid disease requires dietary phosphate restrictions, antacid use, and vitamin D supplementation; if medical therapy fails, referral for surgery is necessary. Counseling on adequate nutrition should be provided, and smoking cessation must be encouraged at each office visit.
ABSTRACT: Coronary heart disease remains a leading cause of mortality in the United States, with 84 percent of persons 65 years or older dying from this disease. Secondary preventive measures, including lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapy, are important for elderly patients because of the variable impacts on morbidity and mortality rates and quality of life. Participating in light to moderate activities significantly decreases mortality rates in elderly patients. Smoking cessation translates into a reduction in overall mortality and morbidity rates at least equal to that of other preventive measures such as aspirin or beta-blocker therapy. Recent studies on the effects of lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels to below 100 mg per dL have shown a substantial reduction in coronary heart disease mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction rates, with a persistent effect in patients older than 75 years. Hypertension, manifesting mostly as isolated systolic blood pressure elevation, also should be treated aggressively. Conventional medical therapies for hypertension (e.g., diuretics, beta blockers) and newer agents (e.g., calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors), together with sodium restriction, have had a positive effect on cardiovascular mortality and morbidity rates in older patients. With the increasing prevalence of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, interventions targeting weight reduction and glucose control should be emphasized. Whereas weight-loss strategies are poorly defined in this population, the management of diabetes through dietary modification, exercise, and medications is similar across age groups. The target hemoglobin A1C level is less than 7 percent. Elderly patients are prone to depression and social isolation, and they are more likely to have a lower socioeconomic status than younger patients, which may negatively affect participation in rehabilitation programs and compliance with medical advice and therapy. Strategies aimed at these factors have shown variable results and remain ill-defined.
ABSTRACT: Tobacco use, primarily cigarette smoking, is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States, and nearly one third of those who try a cigarette become addicted to nicotine. Family physicians, who see most of these patients in their offices every year, have an important opportunity to decrease smoking rates with office-based interventions. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that primary care physicians use the five A's (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange) model when treating patients with nicotine addiction. Physicians can improve screening and increase cessation rates by asking patients about tobacco use at every office visit. Behavior modification can improve long-term smoking cessation success; even brief (five minutes or less) advice on smoking cessation during an office visit can increase cessation rates. The effectiveness of nonpharmacologic treatments generally is lower; therefore, pharmacotherapy is recommended for smokers who are willing to attempt cessation, unless medical contraindications exist. The pharmacologic agents approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of tobacco dependence include bupropion (a non-nicotine therapy) and nicotine replacement therapies in the form of a gum, patch, nasal spray, inhaler, and lozenge. These agents have similar long-term success rates.
Reducing Tobacco Use in Adolescents - Article
ABSTRACT: After steadily decreasing since the late 1990s, adolescent smoking rates have stabilized at levels well above national goals. Experts recommend screening for tobacco use and exposure at every patient visit, although evidence of improved outcomes in adolescents is lacking. Counseling should be provided using the 5-A method (ask, advise, assess, assist, and arrange). All smokers should be offered smoking cessation assistance, including counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion therapy, or combination therapy. Pharmacotherapy of any kind doubles the likelihood of successful smoking cessation in adults; however, nicotine replacement therapy is the only pharmacologic intervention that has been extensively studied in children. Community interventions such as smoking bans and educational programs have been effective at reducing smoking rates in children and adolescents. Antismoking advertising and tobacco sales taxes also help deter new smokers and motivate current smokers to attempt to quit.
ABSTRACT: The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, in collaboration with the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, have issued an update of the 2004 guideline for the management of patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. The American Academy of Family Physicians endorses and accepts this guideline as its policy. Early recognition and prompt initiation of reperfusion therapy remains the cornerstone of management of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Aspirin should be given to symptomatic patients. Beta blockers should be used cautiously in the acute setting because they may increase the risk of cardiogenic shock and death. The combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is indicated in patients who have had ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. A stepped care approach to analgesia for musculoskeletal pain in patients with coronary heart disease is provided. Cyclooxygenase inhibitors and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase mortality risk and should be avoided. Primary prevention is important to reduce the burden of heart disease. Secondary prevention interventions are critically important to prevent recurrent events in patients who survive.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians should take advantage of each contact with smokers to encourage and support smoking cessation. Once a patient is identified as a smoker, tools are available to assess readiness for change. Using motivational interviewing techniques, the physician can help the patient move from the precontemplation stage through the contemplation stage to the preparation stage, where plans are made for the initiation of nicotine replacement and/or bupropion therapy when indicated. Continued motivational techniques and support are needed in the action stage, when the patient stops smoking. Group or individual behavioral counseling can facilitate smoking cessation and improve quit rates. Combined use of behavioral and drug therapies can dramatically improve the patient's chance of quitting smoking. A plan should be in place for recycling the patient through the appropriate stages if relapse should occur.
ABSTRACT: Risk factors for stroke should be evaluated in patients who have had a transient ischemic attack. Blood pressure, lipid levels, and diabetes mellitus should be controlled. When applicable, smoking cessation and weight loss also are important. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy may help prevent stroke. Aspirin is the treatment of choice for stroke prevention in patients who do not require anticoagulation. Clopidogrel is an alternative therapy in patients who do not tolerate aspirin. Atrial fibrillation, a known cardioembolic source (confirmed thrombus), or a highly suspected cardioembolic source (e.g., recent large myocardial infarction, dilated cardiomyopathy, mechanical valve, rheumatic mitral valve stenosis) are indications for anticoagulation.
Smoking Cessation: Still Looking for a Miracle - Editorials