Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is the leading cause of spinal surgery among older Americans, yet more than one-third do not gain significant relief from surgical treatment. The distinct pattern of lower back and leg pain induced by standing and walking associated with LSS is known as neurogenic intermittent claudication (NIC). Various treatment options for NIC include surgical interventions as well as pharmacological, biomechanical and conservative therapy (i.e., physical therapy). No specific treatment is associated with guaranteed outcome, which underscores the need to further evaluate the diagnosis and symptoms associated with LSS.
Key words: lumbar spinal stenosis, neuropathic pain, treatment, treadmill testing, epidural steroid injection.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a common, slow-growing malignant skin tumour that only very rarely metastasizes. The main subtypes of BCC are nodular, superficial, and sclerosing. The most important risk factors for the development of BCC include fair skin, extensive sun exposure as a child, past personal history of skin cancer, and advanced age. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common human malignancy, and its incidence is increasing worldwide. There are a number of different treatm ent modalities for BCC including topical therapies, cryotherapy, electrodesiccation and curettage, surgical excision, radiotherapy, and Mohs’ micrographic surgery. Treatment should be tailored to the individual situation, and advanced age does not typically alter the management choice or reduce the expectation of an excellent outcome, including cure.
Key words: basal cell carcinoma, nonmelanoma skin cancer, risk factors, epidemiology, treatment.
Heart failure (HF) is usually associated with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction, but approximately 50% of all patients with HF have a preserved ejection fraction. The mortality and morbidity associated with this condition, which may be the most common form of HF in older persons, is substantial and is on the rise. Currently, there are few evidence-based therapies demonstrated to be beneficial for this condition. The usual therapeutic recommendations consist of the aggressive management of the comorbidities and fluid balance associated with this form of HF. Disease management programs may improve outcomes among older persons with HF and preserved ejection fraction.
Key words: heart failure, diastolic dysfunction, preserved ejection fraction, treatment, clinical outcome.
Approximately 20% of older people with dementia manifest visual or auditory hallucinations. In order to effectively diagnose and treat these individuals, the etiology of hallucinations must be addressed; however, there has been very limited research in this area. There is an association between vision loss and hallucinations, and analyses of case studies suggest other potential etiologies. Accordingly, hallucinations can occur when the person with dementia either misinterprets reality, experiences sensory deprivation, is exposed to inappropriate sensory stimulation, has delirium/medical problems, or when his/her behaviour is misinterpreted due to cultural differences with caregivers. Understanding the etiology of hallucinations will assist in developing an appropriate nonpharmacological treatment, which may improve quality of life.
Key words: hallucinations, dementia, etiology, nonpharmacological, treatment.
A wrist fracture is associated with an increased risk of another fracture and should prompt investigation for osteoporosis in both men and women. If the fracture was caused by low trauma (a fall from a standing height or less), a bone density test should be ordered. If the T score is <–1.5, pharmacological treatment with a bisphosphonate and calcium (1,500 mg/d) and vitamin D3 (≥800 IU/d) is recommended. Management should also include balance, posture, and muscle-strengthening exercises and walking, as well as a review of fall-prevention strategies.
Key words: wrist fracture, osteoporosis, diagnosis, treatment, exercise, falls.
Differentiating between Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a difficult issue for many clinicians. To date, these diseases share most of their clinical, neuropathological, and management features. Therefore, PDD and DLB are considered by some authors to be the two extremities of a single spectrum disease named Lewy body diseases. Nevertheless, specific diagnostic criteria now exist for each disease and specific diagnosis remains of interest in clinical practice. In this article, we summarize features and diagnostic criteria of both PDD and DLB, compare them, and examine their treatment options.
Key words: Parkinson’s disease dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Lewy body disease, movement disorders, dementia, treatment.
Pressure ulcers are common, costly, and adversely affect quality of life. Nutritional status is one risk factor that predisposes individuals to the development of a pressure ulcer. The impact of nutritional supplementation is reflected in the reduced incidence of pressure ulcers; however, the evidence is limited. The precise role of nutritional supplementation in pressure ulcer healing is less clear, yet a trend towards healing has been suggested. Patients should have their nutritional status monitored carefully. If difficulties arise, these should be detected early, and if it is not possible to increase the intake of normal food and fluids, then advice should be sought from the dietitian.
Key words: pressure ulcers, risk, prevention, treatment, nutrition.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by the presence of bradykinesia, rigidity, and rest tremor. Nonmotor symptoms are also very common in PD and may result in significant disability. Many approaches are available to reduce symptoms. In this article we provide an update on the management of PD. We also discuss the limitations of current treatments.
Key words: Parkinson’s disease, treatment, motor response complications, nonmotor, nondopaminergic.
Chorea is a hyperkinetic movement disorder characterized by nonsustained, rapid, and random contractions that may affect all body parts. Chorea is hypothesized to be due to an imbalance between the direct and indirect pathways in the basal ganglia circuitry. Important causes of chorea among older adults include medications, stroke, and toxic-metabolic, infective, immune-mediated, and genetic causes. The history and clinical examination guide appropriate investigations and help determine an accurate diagnosis. In secondary causes, removal of the precipitating cause is the mainstay of treatment. If the chorea is persistent or progressive, drug therapy may be instituted. Genetic counselling is important in hereditary chorea.
Key words: movement disorders, chorea, older adults, diagnosis, treatment.
Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalization among older adults. Digoxin has been shown to reduce hospitalization due to worsening HF. However, at the commonly prescribed dose of 0.25 mg/day, digoxin does not reduce mortality. New data suggest that at low doses (0.125 mg/day or lower) digoxin not only reduces hospitalization due to HF, but may also reduce mortality. Further, at lower doses, it also reduces the risk of digoxin toxicity and obviates the need for routine serum digoxin level testing. Digoxin in low doses should be prescribed to older adults with symptomatic HF.
Key words: chronic heart failure, older adults, treatment, digoxin, update.
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