Glycaemic index (GI) is a hot topic, often misunderstood by healthcare professionals and patients. This article fills the gaps by explaining the low-GI diet in detail, describing the benefits and barriers to using GI in practice, the benefits in patients with diabetes and the controversy that surrounds it. The aim is to help primary care professionals to make informed decisions on when and how to use GI in helping patients with diabetes to plan their diet.
If physical activity could be taken as a tablet, the dramatic benefits it achieves in reducing cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as many other conditions mean all of us would be on it. But many people currently miss out because it takes more effort to increase physical activity than popping open a tablet bottle. This article sets out the evidence for physical inactivity as a major cardiovascular risk factor and how to put the evidence into practice and get patients moving.
Putting Prevention First, the national strategy for cardiovascular risk assessment for people aged 40 to 74 years, remains high on the healthcare agenda regardless of NHS changes. The "Cog Man" on the cover of the guidance and leaflets distributed to practices and pharmacies highlights the close links between the heart, brain, kidneys and diabetes and underlines the comprehensive nature of vascular risk assessment. In this article, we look at how to carry out an annual review in high-risk people with a cardiovascular risk score of 20% or higher but who do not have high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or atrial fibrillation.
Many patients presenting in general practice will, at some time, complain of tiredness and lack of energy. Investigations to discover the cause are often conducted and will usually include blood tests such as a full blood count to see if anaemia is to blame. Patients may assume that all anaemia is iron deficiency anaemia but there are, of course, different types of anaemia. Interpreting investigations correctly and acting on them appropriately can ensure that the patient gets the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Ten per cent of the annual NHS budget is spent on medication, with about 75% of this is prescribed in primary care. Ensuring that this money really improves patients' health is vitally important. As the population ages, more people require increasing numbers of medications for chronic conditions and a third of elderly patients are taking four drugs or more for a spectrum of conditions. But this creates a major challenge - as research reveals that fewer than half of these patients take their medicines as prescribed. How can this challenge be addressed? This new series will provide simple practical guidance on how to conduct an effective medication review for a spectrum of long-term cardiovascular conditions.
Most of the UK population – including the patients we see every day – are now more likely to have a weight problem than be of a healthy weight. Instead of focusing our efforts, and valuable resources, on managing the consequences of obesity, we should tackle its causes and appropriately manage patients motivated to address their unhealthy weight.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the commonest endocrinopathy, affecting 5-12% of women. Every aspect has been controversial from its nomenclature to its management. But accurate diagnosis based on consensus guidelines ensures that treatment can be tailored effectively to each woman's symptoms and needs.
Effective management of type 2 diabetes requires tight control of blood glucose levels to prevent long-term complications. Recently a number of new oral therapies have become available to help patients achieve this goal. This article provides information on how each agent works, how these different agents may be used, and the side-effects to look out for.