Chronic Illness Management
Chronic Disease Management in Primary Care
Maintaining good eating habits and regular exercise can be difficult. On top of that, your family history or risk factors may make you more susceptible to some medical conditions. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your health and, when medical issues crop up, to properly manage them.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are just a few examples of common chronic medical conditions that can be managed with lifestyle changes, diet, exercise, and medications. The first step, of course, is being aware of your condition and what it takes to properly manage it.
The caring family medicine doctors at Sim Family Clinic in Houston, Texas, can assess your health, diagnose, and treat chronic conditions and illnesses and provide you the information and guidance needed to help you recognize and prevent complications.
We offer blood pressure checks, cholesterol testing, and glucose monitoring as well as A1C testing for patients with diabetes. On-site diagnostic assessments can help identify and monitor heart, lung, and other issues. Our treatment plans are highly individualized to ensure patients with chronic medical conditions can feel their best with minimal symptoms and continue to enjoy their lives.
Chronic Illness Management
At Sim Family Clinic, we can help you treat and manage a wide variety of chronic illnesses, including:
Asthma is a respiratory condition that makes breathing very difficult when your airways swell and produce extra mucus. Asthma symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Symptoms will vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe and intermittent to persistent. Allergies, respiratory infections, exercise, and environmental irritants are some of the factors that trigger asthma symptoms. Trigger factors will also vary from person to person.
While asthma can’t be cured, you can control its symptoms. Because your asthma symptoms are likely to change over time, make sure you regularly see your family doctor to ensure adjustments are made to your medications as needed. Treating asthma involves long-term control methods (which help to keep your symptoms controlled on a daily basis) as well as rescue meds. Treatment may come in the form of pills, inhalers, injections, and more.
COPD is actually a group of lung diseases that make it difficult for you to breathe. Most often, it includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Bronchitis is when the bronchial tubes are inflamed, which typically cause symptoms like coughing up mucus. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs in your lungs are damaged, leading to a chronic cough and making it difficult to catch your breath. Asthma makes it difficult to breathe and can also include coughing and wheezing.
In most cases, self-care, including medications, can relieve COPD symptoms. In some cases, oxygen therapy may be needed. Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) such as spirometry can identify how well your lungs are working – even before you display obvious symptoms of COPD.
Converting the food and drinks you consume into energy your body uses is a complicated process. Central to this process is insulin, which is naturally created by your pancreas. Insulin helps to convert your blood sugar (“blood glucose”) levels into energy. Diabetes occurs when your body fails to produce or properly use insulin, causing blood sugar levels to spike.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a host of medical problems including heart disease, stroke, vision problems, and kidney disease. Diabetes can damage nerves and impact blood circulation, leading to nonhealing wounds, tissue damage, life-threatening infections, and even death. In fact, the vast majority of limb amputations in the U.S. are due to the complications with diabetes.
It is very important to monitor your condition and manage your health if you have diabetes. Regularly seeing a family physician should be a part of your care regimen. Your doctor will use blood tests to assess and monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure your treatment (typically, medication or insulin therapy) continues to be effective for you. Your doctor can also advise you on proper weight management and how best to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels.
Did you know that 1 in 3 American adults have high blood pressure? Many of them may not even be aware they have this very serious condition.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can be dangerous when it remains uncontrolled for a long time. It can damage your heart and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. There are often no symptoms of high blood pressure – until you experience one of its complications.
This is why it’s important to regularly check your blood pressure and to control it when it becomes high. Treatment most often consists of taking medication to lower your blood pressure. Your family doctor may also advise you to make certain lifestyle changes like consuming a healthy diet, lowering your salt intake, and exercising regularly.
Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol – also called hypercholesterolemia – often occurs without any noticeable symptoms.
When your body has too much cholesterol, a type of fat found in your blood, it can clog your blood vessels and lead to serious health problems like blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
A blood test is used to check your cholesterol level, which is usually reported as a combination of three different measurements: LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is responsible for the health problems mentioned above. Whether you require medication to treat high cholesterol levels depends on your age, overall health, and risk factors.
Your thyroid is a gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones that regulate your metabolism. There are a number of problems that can occur with the thyroid, including:
- Hypothyroidism – not enough hormone is produced by the thyroid, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, depression, and a slow heart rate.
- Hyperthyroidism – too much hormone is produced, causing symptoms like a racing heart, weight loss, anxiety, and bulging eyes.
- Goiter – when the thyroid becomes enlarged, usually as a result of an iodine deficiency or a symptom of hyperthyroidism. Goiters are noncancerous but may cause problems such as difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- Thyroid nodules – growths on the thyroid that are most often benign (noncancerous).
Medications are often required to balance out hormone production, in the cases of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
A lot of us have chronic medical issues that require monitoring. The family medicine physicians at Sim Family Clinic in Houston, Texas, can diagnose, treat, and help you manage a number of chronic medical conditions and illnesses. Call Sim Family Clinic at (281) 893-5870 to schedule your appointment.