Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition that we are seeing more and more in general practice, with the increasingly ageing population. It is an important risk factor for stroke – particularly in older people – making it a good candidate for primary care teams to target in efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease. In this article, we explore how to diagnose and treat, using a case study to guide us through the key issues.
This article considers a possible scenario in primary care in which a patient presents with chest pain. Test yourself to see what you would do. Then check this against our recommendations, reflecting on your current procedures and policies within your practice.
The number of people with diabetes in the UK is almost 1.8 million and this is continuing to rise, according to recent figures. But only about half of these are currently diagnosed. It is obviously essential to ensure that these people are diagnosed as early as possible and then managed appropriately to ensure they receive the best possible care to minimise long-term complications. In this article, we review how to diagnose diabetes accurately, based on good practice recommended in standard two of the National Service Framework (NSF) for Diabetes. What should we be measuring in people who present with the classic symptoms and in those who do not to ensure an accurate diagnosis of diabetes?
Diabetes affects approximately 3-4% of the British population but is thought to be significantly under-diagnosed. How can we improve the number of patients who are diagnosed early and so improve their risk of long-term complications?
Hypertension is a silent, malevolent factor in both cardiovascular and renal disease. Raised blood pressure (BP) rarely causes any symptoms – in fact the presenting symptom of hypertension is too often the heart attack or stroke that is the end result. Diagnosis of prolonged abnormal blood pressure is therefore key in the prevention of a range of long-term conditions. In this article, we will examine the importance of measuring blood pressure correctly before making the diagnosis of hypertension. We will also look at the different levels of blood pressure that constitute a diagnosis of hypertension according to the variety of guidelines that exist.
Over the past five years there have been dramatic changes to the way in which people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are being managed in primary care. As a result of policy changes there are now many more people with CKD being identified, especially those with stage 3A. This article deals with one of the most important issues for healthcare professionals when caring for people with early CKD – how to tell people that they have the condition and how to best manage it.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), is a vascular condition which affects the legs. It is caused by atherosclerosis – narrowing and hardening of the arteries – and has previously been described as being similar to angina in the legs. Sufferers get cramping pains in their legs when they walk, which is relieved by rest. This is similar to the chest pain that occurs in people with coronary heart disease (CHD). The similarities between CHD and PAD do not end there: the causes and treatments also overlap. In this article, we explore how two patients presented with symptoms suggestive of PAD and how they were treated.