Thyroid diseases are common in women, including at the time of pregnancies. Many typical features of hyperthyroidism are common in normal pregnancies and this may delay or mask the diagnosis. Uncontrolled thyrotoxicosis increases the rate of miscarriage, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), premature labour and perinatal mortality. Multi-disciplinary efforts are required to achieve optimal control of thyrotoxicosis. Anti-thyroid drugs are safe and should be used with the lowest possible doses. Radioiodine treatment is contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation. Indications of surgery include: compression symptoms, thyroid malignancy, non-compliance to medications or when the patient develop drugs side effects
Current asthma treatment is directed by severity of symptoms and lung function. In Malaysia, spirometry is not widely available and therefore not used in most medical consultations. In 163 asthmatic patients [mean (95% CI) age: 41 (38-44) yrs; 29% male; 32% Malays, 32% Chinese, 34% Indians] who were being followed up in a State Hospital medical outpatient clinic and a large urban-based health clinic, we studied the effect on Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) disease severity classification and the appropriateness of currently prescribed treatment when forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was considered together with symptom severity. We showed that 52% of the patients were upgraded to a higher severity classification and 71% of the patients were under-treated. If based on symptoms alone to assess severity, 39% of the patients were still under-treated. We concluded that the disease severity in many asthmatic patients might have been underestimated and therefore not adequately treated, because spirometry was not available or used to assess asthma severity. The use of spirometry should be advocated more widely among clinicians treating asthma in Malaysia.
Study site: Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan; Klinik Kesihatan Seremban, Malaysia
Osteopoikilosis is a rare bone dysplasia which is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait with a prevalence of less than 0.1 per million.1 It is characterised by dense ovoid or circular spots in cancellous bone which may appear at birth or during skeletal growth. It is usually found in the metaphyseal and epiphyseal regions of long bones, the carpals and tarsals, the end of large turbular bones and around the acetabula. It is clinically asymptomatic and occasionally associated with hereditary multiple exostosis and dermatofibrosis lenticularis disseminata. It is not associated with spontaneous fractures and treatment is unnecessary. However a case of osteosarcoma developing in a man with osteopoikilosis has been reported. The first case of osteopoikilosis was reported in Malaysia four years ago in a 25 years old lady who is also of Indian descent. It would be interesting to know if these two patients are related. Since the bone lesions could easily be mistaken for metastatic disease, it is important that family physicians be aware of the benign nature of this condition.
A 45-year-old Malay housewife was seen at a health clinic with the chief complain of recurrent lower abdominal pain for 9 months. The pain was colicky in nature and occasionally it radiated to the back. There was no history of fever, vaginal discharge or any urinary or bowel symptoms. She had been using an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD Cu250) for the past 5 years. The last change of the IUCD was 2 years ago. Her annual pap smear results were normal. She had been to many primary care clinics and was reassured by the doctors that her symptom was due to her IUCD. She was prescribed mefenamic acid repeatedly for the past 9 months. However her symptoms worsen and she was worried because prior to this she did not have similar problems. Her physical examination was unremarkable. On pelvic examination, the IUCD string was visualised, indicating that her IUCD was still in-situ. Her cervix was pink and healthy. There was no abnormal vaginal discharge.
Significant changes have occurred in relation to how chronic asthma is being treated. Emphasis has now shifted from viewing asthma as a condition of smooth muscle dysfunction to one of chronic inflammation. As such, anti-inflammatory therapy forming the cornerstone of treatment represents the first important milestone in the evolution of asthma treatment. For this purpose, inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) is by far the most effective anti-inflammatory therapy. Another important milestone is the recognition of the superiority of adding long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) to ICS over escalating ICS dose alone or other forms of add-on therapies in treating asthmatic patients not responding to regular ICS alone. The effectiveness of adding LABA to ICS in treating asthma logically led to combining the two drugs into one single inhaler (salmeterol/fluticasone and budesonide/formoterol) that has the attractiveness of being user-friendly and ensuring that ICS is not missed out. The unique property of formoterol that allows for repetitive flexible dosing paved way to the concept of using Symbicort for both regular maintenance dosing and as required rescue medication. This revolutionary approach has been recently shown to provide improved asthma outcome, achieved at an overall lower or at least comparable corticosteroid intake, and may represent another evolutionary step in the treatment strategy of chronic asthma.
Anaemia still constitutes a public health problem in the world, especially in the developing countries (1). Nutritional deficiency remains a major causative factor (2). During pregnancy, growth of the foetus, placenta and the larger amount of circulating blood in the expectant mother will lead to an increase in the demand for nutrients, especially iron and folic acid. Many women start their lives with insufficient iron stores, but also, because of inadequate child spacing, they have little time to build up their iron levels between pregnancies. In pregnancy, anaemia has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality (3,4,5). Iron and folic acid supplementation is routinely given to pregnant mothers in Malaysia. It is anticipated that pregnant mothers who comply strictly with the prescribed iron supplement will maintain adequate iron stores at parturition. However, the compliance rate among rural mothers in Kelantan is often poor (6). Kelantan is also one of the most socio-economically underdeveloped
Musculoskeletal complaints are one of the most common presenting symptoms to primary care physicians. However, in Malaysia, there has been no prospective survey to look at this problem. This was a descriptive study to look at the prevalence of non-traumatic musculoskeletal complaints presenting to the primary care clinic at University Malaya Medical Center, Kuala Lumpur. Over a 3-week period, there were 408/4201 patients (9.7%) with non-traumatic musculoskeletal disorders. The most common regional problem was backache and the most commonly made diagnosis was non-specific musculoskeletal pain. In conclusion, musculoskeletal disorders form a significant proportion of primary care consultations and thus should be included in the curriculum for the primary care physician training. Keywords: musculoskeletal disorders, arthritis, primary care
Study site: Primary care clinic, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The reasons for referral of 189 patients referred to the Primary Care Out-patient Clinics, University Hospital Kuala Lumpur, were studied. 55.6% of them were from private general practitioners. 51.0% of the referrals were for evaluation of symptoms and 46.5% were for management of diseases. The profile of the referrals helps in curriculum planning of Primary Care Medicine. Other applications of the results are discussed.
Study site: Primary care clinic, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A case of NSAID-induced hyperkalaemia in a fifty year old man with chronic renal failure is presented. This paper highlighted the mechanism and clinical importance of this form of drug-induced hyperkalaemia. Keywords: NSAID, hyperkalaemia, chronic renal failure
This study was carried out on 30 patients to: i) determine the efficacy of low dose captopril as monotherapy (with or without a diuretic) in the treatment of various grades of hypertension. ii) assess the quality of life of these patients 12 weeks after commencement of therapy. Our results showed that there was a sustained and significant fall in both mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure from 171.9 Â± 24 to 150.5 Â± 25 mm Hg and 109.0 Â± 14 to 93.6 Â± 15mmHg respectively (p<0.001). Improvement in quality of life was however not statistically significant (p<0.05). We concluded that low dose captopril used alone or in combination with a diuretic can be considered for the initial therapy of mild to moderate hypertension. The optimal dosage and the longterm benefits on quality of life need further evaluation in a larger series.