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Counseling Parents About Vaccine Safety - Editorials
First Trimester Bleeding - Article
ABSTRACT: Vaginal bleeding in the first trimester occurs in about one fourth of pregnancies. About one half of those who bleed will miscarry. Guarded reassurance and watchful waiting are appropriate if fetal heart sounds are detected, if the patient is medically stable, and if there is no adnexal mass or clinical sign of intraperitoneal bleeding. Discriminatory criteria using transvaginal ultrasonography and beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin testing aid in distinguishing among the many conditions of first trimester bleeding. Possible causes of bleeding include subchorionic hemorrhage, embryonic demise, anembryonic pregnancy, incomplete abortion, ectopic pregnancy, and gestational trophoblastic disease. When beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin reaches levels of 1,500 to 2,000 mIU per mL (1,500 to 2,000 IU per L), a normal pregnancy should exhibit a gestational sac by transvaginal ultrasonography. When the gestational sac is greater than 10 mm in diameter, a yolk sac must be present. A live embryo must exhibit cardiac activity when the crown-rump length is greater than 5 mm. In a normal pregnancy, beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin levels increase by 80 percent every 48 hours. The absence of any normal discriminatory findings is consistent with early pregnancy failure, but does not distinguish between ectopic pregnancy and failed intrauterine pregnancy. The presence of an adnexal mass or free pelvic fluid represents ectopic pregnancy until proven otherwise. Medical management with misoprostol is highly effective for early intrauterine pregnancy failure with the exception of gestational trophoblastic disease, which must be surgically evacuated. Expectant treatment is effective for many patients with incomplete abortion. Medical management with methotrexate is highly effective for properly selected patients with ectopic pregnancy. Follow-up after early pregnancy loss should include attention to future pregnancy planning, contraception, and psychological aspects of care.
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: Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic, recurrent, debilitating disease that presents with painful, inflamed lesions in the apocrine-gland-bearing areas of the body, most commonly the axillary, inguinal, and anogenital areas. Etiology traditionally has been attributed to occlusion of the apocrine duct by a keratinous plug; however, defects of the follicular epithelium also have been noted. Contributing factors include friction from axillary adiposity, sweat, heat, stress, tight clothing, and genetic and hormonal components. Multiple treatment regimens are available, including antibiotics, retinoids, corticosteroids, incision and drainage, local wound care, local excision, radiation, and laser therapy. However, no single treatment has proved effective for all patients. Radical excision of the defective tissue is the most definitive treatment. The psychological impact on the patient can be great, encompassing social, personal, and occupational challenges. This impact should be addressed in all patients with significant disease.
Ergogenic Aids: Counseling the Athlete - Article
ABSTRACT: Numerous ergogenic aids that claim to enhance sports performance are used by amateur and professional athletes. Approximately 50 percent of the general population have reported taking some form of dietary supplements, while 76 to 100 percent of athletes in some sports are reported to use them. Physicians can evaluate these products by examining four factors (method of action, available research, adverse effects, legality) that will help them counsel patients. Common ergogenic aids include anabolic steroids, which increase muscle mass. These illegal supplements are associated with a number of serious adverse effects, some irreversible. Creatine modestly improves athletic performance and appears to be relatively safe. Dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione do not improve athletic performance but apparently have similar adverse effects as testosterone and are also banned by some sports organizations. Caffeine has mild benefits and side effects and is banned above certain levels. Products that combine caffeine with other stimulants (e.g., ephedrine) have been linked to fatal events. Protein and carbohydrate supplementation provides modest benefits with no major adverse effects.
ABSTRACT: More than 60 percent of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and obese persons are more likely to be ill than those who are not. Obesity presents challenges to physicians and patients and also has a negative impact on health status. Some patients who are obese may delay medical care because of concerns about disparagement by physicians and health care staff, or fear of being weighed. Simple accommodations, such as providing large-sized examination gowns and armless chairs, as well as weighing patients in a private area, may make the medical setting more accessible and more comfortable for obese patients. Extremely obese patients often have special health needs, such as lower extremity edema or respiratory insufficiency that require targeted evaluation and treatment. Although physical examination may be more difficult in obese patients, their disproportionate risk for some illnesses that are amenable to early detection increases the priority for preventive evaluations. Physicians can encourage improvements in healthy behaviors, regardless of the patient's desire for, or success with, weight loss treatment.
ABSTRACT: The epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues, and the infection is converting into a treatable chronic disease; therefore, it is increasingly important for family physicians to be current with and comfortable in providing basic care to patients infected with HIV. Important aspects of counseling and patient education include stabilization of psychosocial issues and prevention of HIV transmission through behavior change counseling. Reporting HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is mandatory in most states, whereas partner notification laws vary from state to state. Baseline evaluation includes screening for comorbid conditions such as viral hepatitis, syphilis, and tuberculosis, as well as common HIV-related manifestations such as recurrent candidal infections and thrombocytopenia. Baseline testing includes CD4+ T-lymphocyte cell counts and HIV viral RNA levels to assess HIV disease stage, and numerous studies to screen for opportunistic infections. Initial preventive interventions include patient education to reduce exposure to infections, treatment of comorbid conditions such as human papillomavirus-related dysplasia, and vaccinations such as for pneumococcus and hepatitis B. Prophylaxis against opportunistic pathogens is recommended when CD4+ cell counts fall below 200 cells per mm3. Lastly, the indications for antiretroviral therapy include symptomatic patients or those with AIDS, and pre-AIDS patients with CD4+ cell counts of 200 to 350 cells per mm3 or HIV RNA above 55,000 to 100,000 copies per mL.
ABSTRACT: Physicians should use a checklist to facilitate discussions with new parents before discharging their healthy newborn from the hospital. The checklist should include information on breastfeeding, warning signs of illness, and ways to keep the child healthy and safe. Physicians can encourage breastfeeding by giving parents written information on hunger and feeding indicators, stool and urine patterns, and proper breastfeeding techniques. Physicians also should emphasize that infants should never be given honey or bottles of water before they are one year of age. Parents should be advised of treatments for common infant complaints such as constipation, be aware of signs and symptoms of more serious illnesses such as jaundice and lethargy, and know how to properly care for the umbilical cord and genital areas. Physicians should provide guidance on how to keep the baby safe in the crib (e.g., placing the baby on his or her back) and in the car (e.g., using a car seat that faces the rear of the car). It is also important to schedule a follow-up appointment for the infant.
Behavioral Change Counseling in the Medical Home - Graham Center Policy One-Pagers