Concise Reviews for Primary-Care Physicians
Contraceptive Challenges in Women With Common Medical ConditionsWomen have the opportunity to meet personal contraceptive goals with convenient, highly reliable, and easily reversible methods. Long-acting reversible contraception represents an increasingly popular option for most women throughout the reproductive lifespan. Nonetheless, many women and their health care providers are challenged by coexisting medical issues. We aim to help clinicians individualize contraception and use shared decision-making to enhance patient satisfaction and continuation with their method.
Weight Gain in Women at Midlife: A Concise Review of the Pathophysiology and Strategies for ManagementWeight gain accompanied by an increased tendency for central fat distribution is common among women in midlife. These changes are a result of aging, decreasing estrogen levels after menopause, and other unique influences in menopausal women that interfere with the adoption of healthy lifestyle measures. Central obesity, in particular, results in several adverse metabolic consequences, including dysglycemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Given that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in postmenopausal women, the importance of weight management in midlife cannot be overemphasized.
The Childhood Roots of Cardiovascular Disease DisparitiesA recent national review of the social determinants of cardiovascular disease (CVD) underscored the growing recognition that poor socioeconomic conditions early in life place children at higher risk for CVD as adults. There is growing evidence that chronic elevation of allostatic load as a consequence of high levels of early childhood stress can trigger early atherosclerotic changes in children independently of behaviors. Elevated levels of circulating cortisol have been documented in children as young as 4 years who were raised in highly stressful circumstances.
Emergency ContraceptionEmergency contraception (EC) may help prevent pregnancy in various circumstances, such as contraceptive method failure, unprotected sexual intercourse, or sexual assault, yet it remains underused. There are 4 approved EC options in the United States. Although ulipristal acetate requires a provider's prescription, oral levonorgestrel (LNG) is available over the counter for women of all ages. The most effective method of EC is the copper intrauterine device, which can be left in place for up to 10 years for efficacious, cost-effective, hormone-free, and convenient long-term primary contraception.
Breast Density and Breast Cancer Risk: A Practical ReviewNew legislation in several states requiring breast density notification in all mammogram reports has increased awareness of breast density. Estimates indicate that up to 50% of women undergoing mammography will have high breast density; thus, with increased attention and high prevalence of increased breast density, it is crucial that primary care clinicians understand the implications of dense breasts and are able to provide appropriate counseling. This review provides an overview of breast density, specifically by defining breast density, exploring the association between breast density and breast cancer risk, both from masking and as an independent risk factor, and reviewing supplemental screening options as part of a larger framework for counseling patients with dense breasts.
Current Issues in ContraceptionContraceptive management in women should take into account patient lifestyle and coexisting medical issues as well as method safety, efficacy, and noncontraceptive benefits. This review focuses on common and timely issues related to contraception encountered in clinical practice, including migraine headaches and associated risk of ischemic stroke, the use of combined hormonal contraception along with citalopram and escitalopram, contraceptive efficacy and safety in the setting of obesity, contraceptives for treatment of menorrhagia, the association of intrauterine contraception and decreased risk of cervical cancer, and the association of venous thromboembolism and combined hormonal contraception.
Radiation Risk From Medical ImagingThis review provides a practical overview of the excess cancer risks related to radiation from medical imaging. Primary care physicians should have a basic understanding of these risks. Because of recent attention to this issue, patients are more likely to express concerns over radiation risk. In addition, physicians can play a role in reducing radiation risk to their patients by considering these risks when making imaging referrals. This review provides a brief overview of the evidence pertaining to low-level radiation and excess cancer risks and addresses the radiation doses and risks from common medical imaging studies.
Evaluation and Management of Childhood and Adolescent ObesityThe prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents has increased dramatically in the past 3 decades. Childhood and adolescent obesity are associated with serious comorbidities including type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. Most obese children and adolescents have no defined underlying endocrine or genetic syndrome. Evaluation of an obese child or adolescent involves a detailed personal and family history, physical examination, and selected laboratory evaluation. Lifestyle interventions and behavioral modification aimed at decreasing caloric intake and increasing caloric expenditure are essential to management of childhood and adolescent obesity.
Treatment of ObesityFor primary care physicians, obesity is one of the most challenging problems confronted in office practice. The disorder is increasing in prevalence despite the efforts of both patients and physicians. Treatment requires a multimodality approach that addresses diet, physical activity, and behavioral issues. Medication and surgical approaches may be appropriate as well. This review outlines the evidence for each approach, suggests how primary care physicians can best help obese patients, and provides practical tips for weight loss.
The Metabolic Syndrome: Concepts and ControversyThe metabolic syndrome is an insulin-resistant state characterized by a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors, including various combinations of abdominal obesity, glucose intolerance, hypertension, and atherogenic dyslipidemia (elevated triglyceride values, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and small dense low-density lipoprotein cholesterol particles). The current epidemic of obesity and physical inactivity has led to an increased prevalence of this disorder. In this review, we discuss the history and pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome, the controversy regarding the appropriateness of considering it a distinct diagnosis, and the importance of lifestyle modification in its prevention and treatment.
Health Care Maintenance in Female AdolescentsThe assessment and care of female adolescents by primary care physicians can be facilitated with increased knowledge about this stage of development, the health care risks faced by these patients, and the resources available to aid in their care. With a focus on preventive health maintenance, this concise review addresses these areas as well as how to build relationships with female adolescent patients, conduct age-appropriate interviews and tests, and maintain patient confidentiality.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea SyndromeObstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS) is characterized by repetitive episodes of airflow reduction (hypopnea) or cessation (apnea) due to upper airway collapse during sleep. Increasing recognition and a greater understanding of the scope of this condition have substantially affected the practices of many clinicians. This review provides practical information for physicians assessing patients with OSAHS. It discusses complications, clinical recognition, the polysomnographic report, and treatment of OSAHS, including strategies for troubleshooting problems associated with continuous positive airway pressure therapy.
Safe and Effective Management of the Obese PatientThe prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased dramatically in the recent decades, and obesity is now a major public health problem. Obesity negatively influences an individual's health by increasing mortality and raising the risk for multiple medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and coronary heart disease. In addition, the obese individual is often the brunt of social discrimination. Weight loss has been shown to reduce the risk for many of these comorbid conditions.
Surgical Treatment of Obesity: Who Is an Appropriate Candidate?The increasing prevalence and far-reaching medical, social, and economical implications of obesity have made it a national health-care crisis in the United States. About one in every three persons is at least 20% above “ideal” body weight, and approximately 5% have direct weight-related serious health problems (morbid obesity), including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, adult-onset diabetes mellitus, degenerative osteoarthropathy, and obstructive sleep apnea. Morbidly obese patients have an estimated 6- to 12-fold increase in mortality.