Allergic rhinitis: Review of the diagnosis and management: South African Allergic Rhinitis Working Group

Allergic rhinitis (AR) is one of the most common chronic conditions with a prevalence of 10%–40%. It can cause significant discomfort and a marked reduction in productivity and quality of life (QoL). Moreover, its consequences can be serious, including contributing to asthma exacerbations and comorbidities such as rhinosinusitis and otitis media; increasing susceptibility to viral illnesses and impacting on taste, smell and sleep quality. Poor sleep quality can result in chronic fatigue, daytime sleepiness and learning problems in children. Allergic rhinitis can also aggravate mood disorders such as depression and decrease the ability to concentrate. Despite this, it is significantly underdiagnosed and sub-optimally treated, particularly in children where AR symptoms may be attributed to viral infections.

Vitamin D supplementation in a post-pandemic era: a narrative review

Vitamin D refers to the different isoforms, ergocalciferol (D2) and cholecalciferol (D3), resulting from the non-enzymatic reaction utilising ultraviolet B (UVB) light in a thermo-sensitive process. Vitamin D2 and D3 are derived from food, sun exposure, and supplements. They remain inactive until activated by enzymatic hydroxylation in the liver and kidneys. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble molecule, classified as a member of the steroid hormone family, which is dissolved in dietary fat and needs to be emulsified by bile salts before absorption. The bioavailabilty of supplements depends on the food supplement vehicle or lipid composition of the formulation. An increase in the bioavailability of the vitamin D formulation is demonstrated in natural oils like peanut, soybean, corn, sesame, and olive oil.

Recognising the true value of testosterone therapy in health care

Despite high-level evidence demonstrating the health risks of testosterone (T) deficiency (TD, also known as hypogonadism) in men and the substantial benefits of testosterone therapy (TTh), there has been little recognition of the true value of TTh in medicine. The purpose of this article is to highlight several key topics that together provide a powerful argument that TD and TTh merit greater awareness in the medical community.

A case of neurodivergence – the basics of autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder commencing in early childhood and is associated with neurological symptoms that are expressed as behavioural characteristics and vary depending on age as well as linguistic and cognitive abilities. To provide effective care and education, general practitioners should understand the needs of individuals with ASD and their caregivers.

Unlocking the potential of pharmacogenetics in South Africa

Within personalised medicine, genetic applications aid modern medicine in moving beyond the “one size fits all” treatment plan that is currently a norm in most healthcare systems. One of the major segments of personalised medicine is pharmacogenetics testing. Pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing is a burgeoning field that utilises a patient’s genetic information to predict their response to various drug therapies. Using genetics to determine a course of treatment can improve patient health care by reducing the toxicity produced by the drug and the risk of adverse effects.

TB research shows a good diet can cut infections by nearly 50%

Globally in 2021 an estimated 2.2 million cases of TB were attributable to undernourishment, 0.86 million to HIV infection, 0.74 million to alcohol use disorders, 0.69 million to smoking and 0.37 million to diabetes. But knowledge about social determinants alone does not always translate into tangible action and progress. A new trial in India, called RATIONS, aimed to determine the effect of nutritional supplementation on new cases of tuberculosis in households of adults with pulmonary TB. The research found that providing food baskets to people with TB and their households could go a long way to prevent and mitigate the disease. 

Less-than-lethal weapons and the general practitioner

On 16 August 2012, thirty-four miners, who were apparently protesting employment and salary-related matters at the Lonmin platinum mine between Rustenburg and Brits in the North West Province of South Africa, were reportedly shot dead by police during a confrontation. Several other people sustained gunshot injuries. This incident became known as the Marikana Mining Massacre.

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South African General Practitioner - 2023 Vol 4 No 4