Physician advice and individual behaviors about cardiovascular disease risk reduction--seven states and Puerto Rico, 1997.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) (e.g., heart disease and stroke) is the leading cause of death in the United States and accounted for 959,227 deaths in 1996. Strategies to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke include lifestyle changes (e.g., eating fewer high-fat and high-cholesterol foods) and increasing physical activity. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that, as part of a preventive health examination, all primary-care providers counsel their patients about a healthy diet and regular physical activity. AHA also recommends low-dose aspirin use as a secondary preventive measure among persons with existing CVD. To determine the prevalence of physician counseling about cardiovascular health and changes in individual behaviors, CDC analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for seven states and Puerto Rico. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate a lower prevalence of counseling and behavior change among persons without than with a history of heart disease or stroke. (+info)
Clinical evaluation and treatment options for herniated lumbar disc.
Degeneration of the intervertebral disc from a combination of factors can result in herniation, particularly at the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels. The presence of pain, radiculopathy and other symptoms depends on the site and degree of herniation. A detailed history and careful physical examination, supplemented if necessary by magnetic resonance imaging, can differentiate a herniated lumbar disc from low back strain and other possible causes of similar symptoms. Most patients recover within four weeks of symptom onset. Many treatment modalities have been suggested for lumbar disc herniation, but studies often provide conflicting results. Initial screening for serious pathology and monitoring for the development of significant complications (such as neurologic defects, cauda equina syndrome or refractory pain) are essential in the management of lumbar disc herniation. (+info)
Incorporating advance care planning into family practice [see comment].
Despite widespread support for the concept of advance care planning, few Americans have a living will or a health care proxy. Advance care planning offers the patient the opportunity to have an ongoing dialog with his or her relatives and family physician regarding choices for care at the end of life. Ultimately, advance care planning is designed to clarify the patient's questions, fears and values, and thus improve the patient's well-being by reducing the frequency and magnitude of overtreatment and undertreatment as defined by the patient. An advance directive consists of oral and written instructions about a person's future medical care in the event he or she becomes unable to communicate. There are two types of advance directives: a living will and a health care power of attorney. Family physicians are in an ideal position to discuss advance care plans with their patients. By introducing the subject during a routine office visit, physicians can facilitate a structured discussion of the patient's wishes for end-of-life care. At the next visit, further discussion can include the patient and his or her proxy. A document that clearly delineates the patient's wishes is then developed. The patient should be assured that the directive can be changed at any time according to the patient's wishes. The advance care plan should be reviewed periodically to make sure the specifications continue to be in line with the patient's wishes. (+info)
The duty to recontact: attitudes of genetics service providers.
The term "duty to recontact" refers to the possible ethical and/or legal obligation of genetics service providers (GSPs) to recontact former patients about advances in research that might be relevant to them. Although currently this practice is not part of standard care, some argue that such an obligation may be established in the future. Little information is available, however, on the implications of this requirement, from the point of view of GSPs. To explore the opinions of genetics professionals on this issue, we sent a self-administered questionnaire to 1,000 randomly selected U.S. and Canadian members of the American Society of Human Genetics. We received 252 completed questionnaires. The major categories of respondents were physician geneticist (41%), Ph.D. geneticist (30%), and genetic counselor (18%); 72% of the total stated that they see patients. Respondents indicated that responsibility for staying in contact should be shared between health professionals and patients. Respondents were divided about whether recontacting patients should be the standard of care: 46% answered yes, 43% answered no, and 11% did not know. Those answering yes included 44% of physician geneticists, 53% of Ph.D. geneticists, and 31% of genetic counselors; answers were statistically independent of position or country of practice but were dependent on whether the respondent sees patients (43% answered yes) or not (54% answered yes). There also was a lack of consensus about the possible benefits and burdens of recontacting patients and about various alternative methods of informing patients about research advances. Analysis of qualitative data suggested that most respondents consider recontacting patients an ethically desirable, but not feasible, goal. Points to consider in the future development of guidelines for practice are presented. (+info)
Young women taking isotretinoin still conceive. Role of physicians in preventing disaster.
QUESTION: One of my adolescent patients was prescribed isotretinoin for severe acne by a dermatologist. I was shocked to discover she does not use any means of contraception. The dermatologist insists he told her about the need for contraception. How can we do better? ANSWER: Clearly this dermatologist, like many of his colleagues, does not comply with the Pregnancy Prevention Program. Until physicians become more aware of this program, babies will continue to be born with embryopathy due to isotretinoin. (+info)
Tell everything you know about birth control pills.
Evaluation and treatment of childhood obesity.
The prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States has risen dramatically in the past several decades. Although 25 to 30 percent of children are affected, this condition is underdiagnosed and undertreated. Hormonal and genetic factors are rarely the cause of childhood obesity; unnecessary diagnostic evaluations can be avoided with a careful history and physical examination. Because obese children may suffer life-long physical and emotional consequences, it is imperative to discuss prevention with parents during well-child examinations. All obese children should be screened for cardiac risk factors, as well as for possible orthopedic, dermatologic and psychiatric sequelae. Treatment should be initiated when the trend in increasing weight obviously surpasses the trend in increasing height. Treatment plans should include reasonable weight-loss goals, dietary and physical activity management, behavior modification and family involvement, which may include weight loss in the parents. Anorexiant medications are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in pediatric populations. (+info)
Esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula.
Esophageal atresia, with or without tracheoesophageal fistula, is a fairly common congenital disorder that family physicians should consider in the differential diagnosis of a neonate who develops feeding difficulties and respiratory distress in the first few days of life. Esophageal atresia is often associated with other congenital anomalies, most commonly cardiac abnormalities such as ventricular septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus or tetralogy of Fallot. Prompt recognition, appropriate clinical management to prevent aspiration, and swift referral to an appropriate tertiary care center have resulted in a significant improvement in the rates of morbidity and mortality in these infants over the past 50 years. (+info)