How Your Primary Care Physician Can Help Manage Your Chronic Disease
July 26, 2020
When you think of your primary care physician, you may simply think of them as a medical professional who takes care of your common health concerns such as colds, perform well visits and recommend screenings.
Primary care physicians do all these things, of course. But if you have a chronic condition, your primary care physician can play a special role in maintaining your health: the role of a chronic disease specialist who can help you manage your condition.
Chronic diseases are health conditions that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both. They include (but are not limited to):
- Heart disease
- Chronic lung disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic kidney disease
Your Primary Care Physician’s Role
Managing your chronic condition with the help of your primary care physician can improve your quality of life. At the same time, you can reduce your health care costs by preventing or minimizing the effects of a chronic disease.
Through regularly scheduled visits, you and your physician stay connected, which leads to better, more coordinated care. Your primary care physician also can help identify care gaps and monitor your condition between scheduled visits.
Services To Help Manage Your Chronic Condition
Regular visits with your primary care physician can involve screenings, checkups, monitoring and coordinating treatment, and patient education to help manage your chronic condition. A closer look at these:
Screenings – Identifying risk factors through screening can help prevent disease and lessen the severity of illness through early detection. One example is blood pressure screening and control – one of the most effective ways to prevent heart disease and stroke.
Checkups – Through these visits with your primary care physician, you can learn how to manage your chronic disease -- either face-to-face during a traditional doctor’s office visit or through a virtual visit. For example, if you have a chronic heart condition, you can check in with your primary care physician to make sure you’re properly managing your condition over time.
Coordinating treatment – Having one doctor who knows your medical history well and acts as the coordinator of your care avoids redundant medical tests and procedures, unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations and medication errors. Your primary care physician can also help you manage your medications, especially if you have multiple chronic conditions.
Patient education – Your primary care physician can help you understand and work toward your target numbers for heath measures such as blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, leading you to better health.
Whatever your age or stage of life, prevention is the best medicine. That's why it's important to see your primary care provider for age-appropriate screenings and vaccinations that can prevent disease. Learn more.
Need a primary care provider? Use our easy online tool to find a PCP and book an appointment at a time that is convenient for you.