Meeting baby boomers' high expectations

Baby boomers may seek a level of health care that isn't always realistic. Learn how to address their needs while carefully transitioning them into their golden years.

With more and more baby boomers now hitting Medicare age, internists will increasingly be dealing with the specific needs of this complicated population. It may not always be easy. Some experts predict that boomers will want more from their doctors, and from their own health, than previous generations, aiming for a quality of life as they age that may not always be realistic. Charlotte Huff looks at how internists can help manage expectations and maximize boomers' health well into their golden years.

Once an untreatable disease, hepatitis C is now coming close to being curable thanks to important new advances in therapy. But while new hepatitis C cases are on the decline in the U.S., the number of long-term cases is increasing. Read our story to learn how internists can become aware of hepatitis C's risk factors and work to identify and treat patients who have the disease but don't yet know it.

Myalgia is a frequently reported side effect of statins, but it may be an even bigger problem than most realize. Although the medical literature estimates that 1% to 3% of patients taking statins experience muscle pain, the true figure may be closer to 20%, experts say. Complicating matters, many patients begin taking statins and start an exercise program at the same time, making it harder to determine what's causing their pain. Our story explains how to manage myalgia in statin-treated patients by pinpointing the cause and then adjusting therapy accordingly.

This issue also features a Q&A about how to detect and prevent financial abuse in geriatric patients, especially those with multiple chronic conditions, who are often most vulnerable. A Success Story details a novel model that uses principles of chronic disease management to help improve rates of smoking cessation. And finally, you'll find the latest installment of Gray Matters, by Jerome Groopman, MD, FACP, and Pamela Hartzband, MD, FACP. This month, Drs. Groopman and Hartzband examine why advance directives may not always remain the final word on a patient's preferred care as time passes and an illness progresses.

Do you have comments on this issue, or ideas for future Gray Matters columns? As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback.


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse