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Many common symptoms unrelated to disease

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Challenge to the disease-focused model of care typically followed in clinical practice: 1/3 of common symptoms have no clear disease-related explanation


From the American College of Physicians media release:

At least a third of common symptoms have no clear-cut, disease-related explanation, according to a review being published in Annals of Internal Medicine (http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M14-0461).

This fact challenges the disease-focused model of care typically followed in clinical practice. The author writes that clinician training focuses relatively little time preparing physcians to understand, evaluate, and manage common symptoms, which account for more than half of all outpatient visits. Commonly, the initial approach to symptoms starts with the goal of identifying a precise cause and a targeted treatment.

The author conducted a narrative review of common physical symptoms (excluding upper respiratory symptoms, which are self-limiting and less diagnostically challenging) to answer four common epidemiologic questions about clinical condition: cause, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.

Nine important findings of the review may help to redefine the clinical approach to symptom-prompted office visits.



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