Chronic Disease Management

When talking about a primary care physician (PCP), most people simply think of them as a medical professional who takes care of your common health concerns such as minor illness, annual well visits and recommend screenings.  Of course, primary care physicians do all these things, but they also do so much more!

If you have a chronic health condition, your PCP can play an essential role in maintaining your health as your chronic disease specialist who helps you manage your condition with the proper treatment and follow up.

What classifies a medical condition as a chronic disease?  They are health conditions that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention or cause limited activities of daily living or both. 

Examples are:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Depression or anxiety
  • ADHD

By managing your chronic condition with your PCP, not only can you improve your quality of life, but you can reduce your health care costs by preventing or minimizing the effects of your chronic disease.  Your
PCP also helps you manage your medications; this is especially important if you have multiple chronic conditions.

While staying connected to your physician with regularly scheduled visits leads to better, more coordinated care, these regular visits with your PCP can also involve screenings, checkups, monitoring, coordinating treatment, and patient education to help manage your chronic condition.

Definition of terms:

Checkups –These visits with your PCP teach you how to manage your chronic disease – For example, if you have Diabetes, you can check in with your PCP to make sure you’re properly managing your glucose levels over time.

Screenings – Identifying risk factors that can help prevent disease and lessen the severity of illness through early detection. A primary example is regular blood pressure checks and control – this is one of the most effective ways to prevent heart disease and stroke.

Coordinating treatment – By utilizing your PCP as the one doctor who knows your entire medical history well and heads up the coordination of your care, you avoid redundant medical tests and procedures, unnecessary emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and medication errors.  This will help you keep your healthcare costs down.

Patient education – Your PCP can provide you with material, techniques, and expert advice to help you understand and work toward your target numbers for all your heath measures such as blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, leading you to better health.


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