A Succinct Review of the Top Medical Research Studies of 2018 for Family Physicians
By Natan Schleider, M.D.
May 19th, 2019
SOURCE: AMERICAN FAMILY PHYSICIAN V.99 # 9 MAY 2019 P.565-573
Every year I try to sum up the most important easy to understand studies for my patients, doing my best in eliminating fancy medical mumbo jumbo.
Here are the important points for 2018:
- Home blood pressures are more accurate than doctor’s office blood pressures. So, if your blood pressure is high at the hospital or doctor’s office (which it should be unless you are super zen), check your blood pressure at home with any machine that measures above the elbow OR ask a friend who knows how to check blood pressure. If you find yourself surrounded by machines as in the above photo, you are doing something wrong…that photo is actually an old ECG machine.
- Lower blood pressures are almost always better EXCEPT in elderly patients 85 or older.
- Shorter courses of antibiotics are almost always as effective and have fewer side effects than longer courses. So, for example, if a Zpack usually helps your bronchitis or ear infection, or sore throat, opt for the 3 day Zpack rather than the 5 day.
- For women who suffer from 3 or more UTIs annually, drinking an additional 1.5 liters of water daily reduces risk of future UTI by 50%.
- Several studies show that non-opioid pain medicines are as effective for relieving acute injury of arm or leg pain in the emergency room compared to opioids.
- Patients who exercise (at least 150 hours per week or more) have lower risk of depression.
- For patients being medically treated with anxiety who then stop their medicines, 1/3rd will have a relapse and require medication again. 1/6th of all patients with anxiety will have worsening anxiety despite treatment.
- Stool testing for colon cancer screening using DNA found in stool (called Fecal Immunochemical Tests or FIT) is better than standard stool testing for blood and an optional substitute for colon cancer screening other than colonoscopy.
- Type II diabetics should shoot for a HbA1c of 7-8 percent (and not lower as previously advised).
- If you are 60 or older, a blood pressure of 150/90 or lower is ok presuming you do not have other serious medical issues. Below 60 lower than 140/90 is ok.
Please contact me with any questions or comments.
Natan Schleider, M.D.