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Primary Care Doctor Role in Chronic Disease Management
A primary care physician guides their patient through the different challenges of living with a chronic disease. The doctor will also oversee their patient’s treatment by consulting with any specialists. They will coordinate the various aspects of their patient’s treatment and make adjustments as needed. Keep reading to learn about the different measures that both the doctor and the patient can take to manage a chronic health condition.
The role of primary care in handling a chronic disease
Primary care physicians are generalist doctors with knowledge that covers many medical conditions. This expertise enables them to make quick and accurate diagnoses for all kinds of ailments. The family doctor and the internist use their broad knowledge base to treat patients of all ages. They can also provide long-term care to patients with prolonged or chronic illnesses.
Chronic diseases come in many varieties, with some having more risks than others. Some conditions may be debilitating but lose a low risk to the patient’s life. Other diseases are potentially life-threatening but can be managed or reversed. The most common chronic conditions that doctors deal with are:
- Cardiovascular disease
- The effects of a stroke
- Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases
- Chronic kidney disease
- Depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions
Conditions like Alzheimer’s are irreversible, so the role of a doctor is to manage the effects of the illness. Diseases like cancer can have varying outcomes, and the doctor may oversee treatments to fight the disease or offer palliative care in case of a poor prognosis. Here are the different ways that doctors can care for patients with chronic illnesses.
A primary care physician will schedule regular visits to keep tabs on their patient. These visits enable the patient to give feedback on the effectiveness of the treatment.
2. Managing pain
Chronic conditions like cancer and arthritis can cause pain and discomfort that affect the patient’s daily life. A family doctor can help the patient manage their pain through medication and holistic treatments that improve the person’s wellness.
3. Managing the effects of the disease
Diseases like Alzheimer’s can take a toll on patients and their family members, but the family doctor can help. The doctor can coordinate counseling to help families deal with the changes in their loved ones. They can recommend programs that will help family members navigate everyday life with a person who has Alzheimer’s. A family doctor will also prescribe measures to help the patient through the progression of their illness.
4. Making adjustments to treatment
A primary care physician will monitor the effect and efficacy of a treatment on their patient. They will make adjustments if specific medical interventions cause serious side effects or if the treatment fails.
5. Guiding behavioral changes
Patients who suffer from obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle diseases can manage and even reverse their conditions. This is challenging, however, and patients will need to adopt long-term lifestyle changes to improve their health.
A primary care physician can create a personalized program to improve their patients' diet, physical activity, and behavior. They will consult with and oversee nutritionists and fitness trainers to help with this goal. This type of intervention is also helpful for patients who live with cardiovascular disease.
We are here to do the work with you
Get in touch with us to learn how our primary care physician can help as you deal with a chronic illness. Our practice offers long-term care to manage the symptoms of the disease in ways that can improve your daily life.
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