The Practitioner

The Practitioner is a PubMed indexed journal, primarily aimed at GPs, with subscribers throughout the World. It is also used by doctors preparing for work in the UK. All articles in The Practitioner online include CPD fillable PDF frameworks for personal reflection on learning and drafting of plans that will have an impact on practice. Preset search links to PubMed and NICE Evidence are associated with most major articles.


Special reports

Set individualised targets for patients with type 2 diabetes

23 Sep 2016

In type 2 diabetes regular physical activity totalling 30 minutes most days of the week improves muscle insulin sensitivity, lipid profile and blood pressure although a total of 60-75 minutes a day is required for weight reduction and better metabolic profiles. NICE guidelines acknowledge the need for individualised treatment targets. Lowering HbA1c is beneficial in reducing microvascular complications and may have macrovascular benefits in the long term. However, intensive glycaemic control in the elderly with more advanced disease may not have similar benefits and poses a risk due to hypoglycaemia.

Identifying patients with complex PTSD

01 Aug 2016Registered users

Type 2 or complex trauma results from multiple or repeated traumatic events occurring over extended periods. Complex trauma is often associated with other adversity and stressors such as neglect, loss or deprivation. For many individuals these traumas occur at a developmentally vulnerable time with the perpetrator often in a caregiving role. Patients who have experienced complex trauma should be assessed for the core symptoms of PTSD. In addition, patients should be assessed for disturbances in the three domains of emotional dysregulation, negative self-concept and interpersonal disturbances.



Tailor treatment to the patient with neuropathic pain

23 Sep 2016

Neuropathic pain is defined as pain that is caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system and is estimated to affect 6-8% of the general population. A low threshold of suspicion in conditions associated with neuropathic pain can aid diagnosis. Typical neuropathic descriptors include burning, shooting, electric shock pain with numbness, pins and needles or itching.

Diagnosis and management of motor neurone disease

23 Sep 2016Paid-up subscribers

Motor neurone disease is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurodegenerative condition which causes progressive weakness, with normal sensation. Key clinical presentations include bulbar (slurred or difficult speech, problems swallowing, tongue fasciculation), limb (typically in one limb with weakness and muscle wasting), respiratory (breathlessness, chest muscle fasciculation) and cognitive features (behavioural change, emotional lability, features of frontotemporal dementia).


Clinical reviews of research - by GPs with interest

Identifying risk factors for pre-eclampsia

23 Sep 2016Registered users

Previous pre-eclampsia, chronic hypertension, and pregestational diabetes, as well as BMI = 30 kg/m2, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), are all strongly associated with an increased risk of pre-eclampsia, a meta-analysis of large cohort studies has shown.

High levels of physical activity can negate the detrimental effects of sitting

23 Sep 2016Registered users

Moderate intensity physical activity for 60-75 min per day appears to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with lengthy time spent sitting down, a meta-analysis has shown.



Optimising the management of wheeze in preschool children

23 Jun 2016Paid-up subscribers

One third of all preschool children will have an episode of wheeze and many of these present to primary care. Most will fall within a spectrum of diagnosis ranging from episodic viral wheeze to multiple trigger wheeze or early onset asthma. The child should be referred to hospital immediately if you suspect an inhaled foreign body or anaphylaxis (after administering IM adrenaline). NICE recommends immediate referral for children with wheeze and high-risk features and also those with intermediate-risk features failing to respond to bronchodilator therapy.


Women's health

Managing debilitating menopausal symptoms

21 Mar 2016Registered users

Severity and duration of menopausal symptoms varies markedly. Eight out of ten women experience symptoms and on average these last four years, with one in ten women experiencing symptoms for up to 12 years. Menopausal symptoms can begin years before menstruation ceases. A recent study found that women whose vasomotor symptoms started before the menopause suffered longest, median 11.8 years. Women whose hot flushes and night sweats started after the menopause had symptoms for a median of 3.4 years.

GPs have key role in early diagnosis of endometriosis

23 Mar 2015Registered users

Risk factors for endometriosis include early menarche, late menopause, delayed childbearing, vaginal outflow obstruction and a first-degree relative affected. Women commonly present to their GP with pelvic pain, painful intercourse or subfertility. Referral should be considered if pain is not controlled with simple analgesia or the diagnosis is suspected in a woman who is actively trying to conceive. Early referral should be considered in women with abnormal examination findings, or an abnormal ultrasound result.



Improving the detection and management of type 1 diabetes

25 Jan 2016Registered users

Type 1 diabetes affects around 370,000 adults in the UK, about 10% of all those diagnosed with diabetes. In type 1 diabetes there is a lack of beta cell insulin secretion as a result of autoimmune destruction of the beta cells. However, patients are not affected by insulin resistance, and so do not routinely experience the features of metabolic syndrome that occur in type 2 diabetes. It is therefore important to classify the type of diabetes correctly and to recognise that type 1 diabetes is a condition with its own management requirements. Structured education is the cornerstone of care providing tools to allow effective self-management.

Improving outcomes in diabetes in pregnancy

21 May 2015Registered users

One in 250 pregnancies in the UK involves diabetes. The majority of cases (87.5%) are gestational diabetes, 7.5% are type 1 and 5% are type 2 diabetes. Diabetes in pregnancy is associated with a five fold increase in risk of stillbirth and a two-fold increased risk of congenital defects compared with the general maternity population. Women with gestational diabetes have a significant lifetime risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hence diabetes screening must be undertaken on an annual basis in primary care.



Papulosquamous conditions

23 Sep 2016Registered users

• Pityriasis rosea • Discoid lupus erythematosus • Lichen planus • Seborrhoeic dermatitis • Tinea corporis • Plaque psoriasis

Sun damage

23 Jun 2016Registered users

 • Squamous cell carcinoma • Actinic keratosis horn • Bowen’s disease • Solar elastosis • Rosacea • Discoid lupus



Abrupt smoking cessation more effective than cutting down

23 Sep 2016Paid-up subscribers

A large UK trial found clear evidence that quitting smoking abruptly was superior in both the short- and longer-term to gradual cessation. The researchers concluded that in clinical practice patients should be encouraged to stop smoking abruptly and not gradually. 


HASLAM's view

Better the devil you know?

23 Sep 2016Registered users

I tried to explain to my patients that the fact that they trusted me and were used to seeing me did not necessarily mean I was any good. But I also acknowledged that I knew how they felt, and how unsettling it can be when you have to see a new healthcare professional.


Pain management

Tailor treatment to the patient with neuropathic pain

23 Sep 2016

Neuropathic pain is defined as pain that is caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system and is estimated to affect 6-8% of the general population. A low threshold of suspicion in conditions associated with neuropathic pain can aid diagnosis. Typical neuropathic descriptors include burning, shooting, electric shock pain with numbness, pins and needles or itching.

Careful assessment the key to diagnosing adolescent heel pain

23 May 2016Registered users

The most common cause of adolescent heel pain is calcaneal apophysitis also known as Sever’s disease. Sever’s disease, Osgood Schlatter’s disease (tibial tuberosity) and Sinding-Larsen Johansson syndrome (distal patella) are all overuse syndromes brought about by repetitive submaximal loading and microtrauma. They are, however, entirely self-limiting and resolve at skeletal maturity or earlier. Careful assessment is required to differentiate them from other rare pathologies.

Rapid diagnosis vital in thunderclap headache

25 Apr 2016Registered users

Thunderclap headache is a severe and acute headache that reaches maximum intensity in under one minute and lasts for more than five minutes. Thunderclap headaches may be associated with symptoms such as photophobia, nausea, vomiting, neck pain, focal neurological symptoms or loss of consciousness. Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) accounts for 10-25% of all thunderclap headaches and, despite advances in medical technology, has a 90-day mortality of 30%. Up to a quarter of cases of SAH are misdiagnosed, often through failure to follow guidance.


Controlling joint pain in older people

25 Jan 2016

The prevalence of chronic pain in older people in the community ranges from 25 to 76% and for those in residential care, it is even higher at 83 to 93%. The most common sites affected are the back, hip, or knee, and other joints. There is increased reporting of pain in women (79%) compared with men (53%). Common conditions include osteoarthritis and, to a lesser extent, the inflammatory arthropathies such as rheumatoid arthritis. The differential diagnosis includes non-articular pain such as vascular limb pain and nocturnal cramp, some neuropathic pain conditions (such as compressive neuropathies and postherpetic neuralgia), soft tissue disorders such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndromes. 

Evaluating the patient with low back pain

22 Dec 2015Paid-up subscribers

In the UK, low back pain is the most common cause of disability in young adults and every year 6-9% of adults consult their GP about back pain. A thorough history and examination is required to exclude an alternative diagnosis, such as pain arising from the hip or trochanteric bursa and to categorise patients as having: serious spinal pathology, nerve root/radicular pain or non-specific back pain.


CPD exercises associated with each issue

CPD exercise - September 2016

23 Sep 2016Paid-up subscribers

All articles in The Practitioner online now include fillable PDF frameworks for personal reflection on learning and drafting of plans for CPD. These templates are also included here in our standard study pack containing this month’s CPD exercise plus all relevant articles: • Tailor treatment to the patient with neuropathic pain • Diagnosis and management of motor neurone disease • Set individualised targets for patients with type 2 diabetes