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ABSTRACT: Several large clinical trials conducted over the past decade have shown that pharmacologic interventions can dramatically reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with heart failure. These trials have modified and enhanced the therapeutic paradigm for heart failure and extended treatment goals beyond limiting congestive symptoms of volume overload. Part II of this two-part article presents treatment recommendations for patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction. The authors recommend that, if tolerated and not contraindicated, the following agents be used in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction: an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor in all patients; a beta blocker in all patients except those who have symptoms at rest; and spironolactone in patients who have symptoms at rest or who have had such symptoms within the past six months. Diuretics and digoxin should be reserved, as needed, for symptomatic management of heart failure. Other treatments or treatment programs may be necessary in individual patients.
ABSTRACT: In a select group of persons, exercise can produce a spectrum of allergic symptoms ranging from an erythematous, irritating skin eruption to a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. The differential diagnosis in persons with exercise-induced dermatologic and systemic symptoms should include exercise-induced anaphylaxis and cholinergic urticaria. Both are classified as physical allergies. Mast cell degranulation with the release of vasoactive substances appears to be an inciting factor for the production of symptoms in both cases. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis and cholinergic urticaria can be differentiated on the basis of urticarial morphology, reproducibility, progression to anaphylaxis and response to passive warming. Diagnosis is usually based on a thorough history and examination of the morphology of the lesions. Management of acute episodes of exercise-induced anaphylaxis includes cessation of exercise, administration of epinephrine and antihistamines, vascular support and airway maintenance. Long-term care may require modification of or abstinence from exercise, avoidance of co-precipitating factors and the prophylactic use of medications such as antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers.
ABSTRACT: Athletes and other physically active patients should be screened for hypertension and given appropriate therapy if needed. Mild hypertension should be treated with non-pharmacologic measures for six months. If blood pressure control is adequate, lifestyle modifications are continued. If control is inadequate, low-dose therapy with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or a calcium channel blocker may be started. A thiazide diuretic may be used as first-line treatment for hypertension in casually active patients; however, diuretic therapy is less desirable in high-intensity or endurance athletes because of the risk of hypovolemia or hypokalemia. If beta blockade is needed, a combined alpha-beta blocker may be the best choice. When the target blood pressure is achieved, long-term follow-up care and management should be emphasized. If excellent control is maintained for six to 12 months, medication may be reduced or withdrawn in a small number of patients. If the target blood pressure is not achieved, the medication dosage may be adjusted, or a second medication, usually a diuretic, may be added. Physicians need to be aware of the effects of various medications on exercise tolerance and the rules for participation established by sports regulatory bodies (Am Fam Physician 2002;66:457-8).
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: Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. More than 60 percent of U.S. adults are now overweight or obese (defined as at least 30 lb [13.6 kg] overweight), predisposing more than 97 million Americans to a host of chronic diseases and conditions. Physical activity has a positive effect on weight loss, total body fat, and body fat distribution, as well as maintenance of favorable body weight and change in body composition. Many of the protective aspects of exercise and activity appear to occur in overweight persons who gain fitness but remain overweight. Despite the well-known health and quality-of-life benefits of regular physical activity, few Americans are routinely active. Results of research studies have shown that physician intervention to discuss physical activity (including the wide array of health benefits and the potential barriers to being active) need not take more than three to five minutes during an office visit but can play a critical role in patient implementation. This article describes elements of effective counseling for physical activity and presents guidelines for developing physical activity programs for overweight and obese patients.
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: There is a common misconception that symptomatic tendon injuries are inflammatory; because of this, these injuries often are mislabeled as tendonitis. Acute inflammatory tendinopathies exist, but most patients seen in primary care will have chronic symptoms suggesting a degenerative condition that should be labeled as "tendinosus" or "tendinopathy." Accurate diagnosis requires physicians to recognize the historical features, anatomy, and useful physical examination maneuvers for these common tendon problems. The natural history is gradually increasing load-related localized pain coinciding with increased activity. The most common overuse tendinopathies involve the rotator cuff, medial and lateral elbow epicondyles, patellar tendon, and Achilles tendon. Examination should include thorough inspection to assess for swelling, asymmetry, and erythema of involved tendons; range-of-motion testing; palpation for tenderness; and examination maneuvers that simulate tendon loading and reproduce pain. Plain radiography, ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance imaging can be helpful if the diagnosis remains unclear. Most patients with overuse tendinopathies (about 80 percent) fully recover within three to six months, and outpatient treatment should consist of relative rest of the affected area, icing, and eccentric strengthening exercises. Although topical and systemic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective for acute pain relief, these cannot be recommended in favor of other analgesics. Injected corticosteroids also can relieve pain, but these drugs should be used with caution. Ultrasonography, shock wave therapy, orthotics, massage, and technique modification are treatment options, but few data exist to support their use at this time. Surgery is an effective treatment that should be reserved for patients who have failed conservative therapy.
ABSTRACT: A combination of aerobic activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises, plus increased general daily activity can reduce medication dependence and health care costs while maintaining functional independence and improving quality of life in older adults. However, patients often do not benefit fully from exercise prescriptions because they receive vague or inappropriate instructions. Effective exercise prescriptions include recommendations on frequency, intensity, type, time, and progression of exercise that follow disease-specific guidelines. Changes in physical activity require multiple motivational strategies including exercise instruction as well as goal-setting, self-monitoring, and problem-solving education. Helping patients identify emotionally rewarding and physically appropriate activities, contingencies, and social support will increase exercise continuation rates and facilitate desirable health outcomes. Through patient contact and community advocacy, physicians can promote lifestyle patterns that are essential for healthy aging.
ABSTRACT: Although type 1 diabetes historically has been more common in patients eight to 19 years of age, type 2 diabetes is emerging as an important disease in this group. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 8 to 45 percent of new childhood diabetes. This article is an update from the National Diabetes Education Program on the management of type 2 diabetes in youth. High-risk youths older than 10 years have a body mass index greater than the 85th percentile for age and sex plus two additional risk factors (i.e., family history, high-risk ethnicity, acanthosis nigricans, polycystic ovary syndrome, hypertension, or dyslipidemia). Reducing overweight and impaired glucose tolerance with increased physical activity and healthier eating habits may help prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in high-risk youths. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend population-based screening of high-risk youths; however, physicians should closely monitor these patients because early diagnosis may be beneficial. The American Diabetes Association recommends screening high-risk youths every two years with a fasting plasma glucose test. Patients diagnosed with diabetes should receive self-management education, behavior interventions to promote healthy eating and physical activity, appropriate therapy for hyperglycemia (usually metformin and insulin), and treatment of comorbidities.
ABSTRACT: Family physicians commonly care for patients with serious mental illness. Patients with psychotic and bipolar disorders have more comorbid medical conditions and higher mortality rates than patients without serious mental illness. Many medications prescribed for serious mental illness have significant metabolic and cardiovascular adverse effects. Patients treated with second-generation antipsychotics should receive preventive counseling and treatment for obesity, hyperglycemia, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. First- and second-generation antipsychotics have been associated with QT prolongation. Many common medications can interact with antipsychotics, increasing the risk of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. Drug interactions can also lead to increased adverse effects, increased or decreased drug levels, toxicity, or treatment failure. Physicians should carefully consider the risks and benefits of second-generation antipsychotic medications, and patient care should be coordinated between primary care physicians and mental health professionals to prevent serious adverse effects.