Concise Reviews for Primary-Care Physicians
- Physician burnout and other forms of occupational distress are a significant problem in modern medicine, especially during the coronavirus disease pandemic, yet few doctors are familiar with the neurobiology that contributes to these problems. Burnout has been linked to changes that reduce a physician’s sense of control over their own practice, undermine connections with patients and colleagues, interfere with work-life integration, and result in uncontrolled stress. Brain research has revealed that uncontrollable stress, but not controllable stress, impairs the functioning of the prefrontal cortex, a recently evolved brain region that provides top-down regulation over thought, action, and emotion.
- Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is classified into 5 clinical subgroups: pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), PH due to left-sided heart disease, PH due to chronic lung disease, chronic thromboembolic PH (CTEPH), and PH with an unclear and/or multifactorial mechanisms. A range of underlying conditions can lead to these disorders. Overall, PH affects approximately 1% of the global population, and over half of patients with heart failure may be affected. Cardiologists are therefore likely to encounter PH in their practice.
- Although often considered a disease of childhood, the prevalence of asthma in US adults aged 65 years or older is similar to that in children, with the number of older patients needing care for asthma likely to continue to increase. As with most chronic diseases, there are challenges associated with the diagnosis and management of asthma in an older population. This review discusses these challenges, suggesting practical management strategies for primary care physicians and their teams. Asthma comprises a spectrum of phenotypes, some associated with adult onset.
- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have substantially increased in popularity. Clear evidence about the safety of e-cigarettes is lacking, and laboratory experiments and case reports suggest these products may be associated with potential adverse health consequences. The effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation is modest and appears to be comparable to the nicotine patch combined with minimal behavioral support. Although a role for e-cigarettes in the treatment of tobacco dependence may emerge in the future, the potential risk of e-cigarettes outweighs their known benefit as a recommended tobacco treatment strategy by clinicians.