Thursday, August 17, 2017

What Kind of Arthritis Do You Have?

The pattern of joint swelling and pain might be as important as sophisticated testing to distinguish the type of arthritis you have.  Multiple joints are usually involved with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and autoimmune problems.  Autoimmune and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to be symmetrical and involve the upper body. Lower body involvement points more toward osteoarthritis and gout.  Of course it is also possible to have more than one form of these common diseases.  Your diagnosis is important because the treatment might be different for different conditions.

See Family Practice News, March issue, p. 4.

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Screening Tests that Make Sense for Senior Citizens

The risk of complications from colonoscopies might outweigh the potential benefits after the age of 75, unless you have a history of polyps previously treated.  Mammograms over the age of 70 and sometimes earlier than that can lead to overtreatment.  Thermographies might be better as a preventive test.  With no previous history of precancerous lesions, pap smears can be discontinued at age 65.  PSA’s have no benefit after the age of 75 and are optional for men before that.  Bone density tests are recommended every five years, beginning at age 65 for women and 70 for men.  One ultrasound per lifetime to screen for abdominal aneurysm is recommended.  I would add CardioRisk tests for arterial plaque, a questionnaire for the risk of falls, and periodic blood tests for vitamin D, CRP sensitive, glucose, Lp(a), and other lipids.

 See AARP Magazine, February/March issue, 2017, p. 24-25.