Chronic Disease Management

Chronic disease is highly prevalent in the U.S. and requires ongoing medical oversight and clinical management. A chronic disease is any condition or illness that persists long-term but for which there is no medical cure. Examples of chronic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. Chronic disease management in Vail consists of obtaining a definitive diagnosis and creating a treatment plan that will slow progression of the disease and help make symptoms more manageable.

Did you know…

at nearly half of all American adults suffer with at least one chronic disease or illness? Many of those chronic diseases are manageable and even reversible with certain lifestyle changes. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that the modification of certain risk-associated behaviors – such as eating, drinking, exercise, and tobacco use – can help manage, prevent or reverse many chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, lung cancer and liver disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Vail doctor to manage my chronic disease?

Yes. Some diseases, such as diabetes, require daily monitoring and health management. However, even if you have a chronic disease for which you haven’t experienced symptoms in many months or years, you still need a practitioner who is aware of your health history and the diseases you suffer with.

What should I expect if I am diagnosed with a chronic disease?

If you are diagnosed with a chronic disease, you can expect to build a very close relationship with your Vail doctor, who will be your advocate and greatest partner on your health journey. You may be frequently screened or tested to determine the extent of your disease, and you may be prescribed medications to help suppress symptoms and disease progression on an ongoing basis. You can also expect to check in with your doctor regularly to ensure that the disease is being adequately managed.

Will I need to follow any special instructions between office visits?

Probably. Your Vail doctor may recommend that you not only take your medications as prescribed, but also modify certain lifestyle habits to lower your risk of complications stemming from chronic disease.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that interferes with healthy breathing patterns during sleep. It is characterized by snoring, which may be so loud that it affects the sleep quality of bed partners. Having sleep apnea in [city] can put a strain on relationships, cause daytime fatigue, and even lead to other secondary conditions like depression. Worse, severe cases of sleep apnea can be life threatening.

Though snoring is a primary symptom of sleep apnea, not all people who snore actually have sleep apnea. As much as 50 percent of Americans snore at some time, whether occasionally or chronically. However, only 20 percent of American adults have sleep apnea. So how do you know the difference? Harmless snoring does not interfere with breathing patterns. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, causes breathing cessations and sometimes ‘gasping’ during sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need treatment for sleep apnea in [city]?

You may need to see a doctor if you or your partner have been awakened by your chronic snoring and/or gasping for air. Though this condition can be very dangerous, your doctor can help you discover ways of managing sleep apnea and protecting healthy breathing during sleep.

How will my doctor screen for sleep apnea?

Your doctor’s first goal will be to determine whether your snoring is benign or a symptom of sleep apnea. This may be determined by speaking with you and your partner about your symptoms. If you do not have a partner who can confirm snoring or breathing interruptions, your doctor may request a sleep study.

What types of treatments are available for people with sleep apnea in [city]?

There are many ways of treating the symptoms of sleep apnea. This may include conservative approaches, such as a new sleeping position or the use of an oral appliance. If your apnea symptoms are severe or conservative treatments are not working, you may be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) to open the airway. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Keep in mind that a diagnosis of sleep apnea is not always permanent. Many patients find that losing weight can be an effective way of opening the airway during sleep.

Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention

Cardiovascular disease is a serious illness that can cause life-threatening consequences, such as heart attack and stroke. Also known as heart disease, cardiovascular disease encompasses many different types of illnesses and conditions affecting the structure and functionality of the heart and blood vessels. Examples include atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, heart valve problems and heart failure.

Did you know that 1.5 million people suffer a heart attack or stroke every year in the U.S.? Far more – approximately 26.6 million – live with chronic heart disease. Unfortunately, many people in Vail are unaware of their cardiovascular health until they suffer an adverse even., While it is the leading cause of death in both men and women, cardiovascular disease and acute conditions related to it are also highly preventable, treatable, and in many cases reversible with the right care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a heart attack and a stroke?

Many people in Vail are unaware of the differences between a heart attack and stroke or the symptoms associated with them. Both conditions occur when plaque accumulates in the arteries, narrowing the passage of blood. If a clot forms, it can prevent blood flow altogether, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Heart attacks occur when a blood clot inhibits blood flow to the heart, whereas a stroke occurs when a clot prevents blood flow to the brain.

What are the symptoms of heart attack and stroke?

The symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and discomfort that radiates into the arms, back, or jaw. A person having a stroke may experience facial drooping, muscle weakness, confusion, slurred speech, partial paralysis, headache and impaired vision. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

How can my Vail doctor help prevent heart attack or stroke?

Whether you have already experienced a heart attack or stroke or are considered at-risk for an adverse cardiovascular event, treatments are available to lower your risk. At our office, we work with your surgeons and specialists to coordinate care according to your needs. In many cases, this includes Coumadin management, as well as PT/INR evaluations to determine the effectiveness of your blood thinning treatment and how quickly your blood will clot. We also provide Vail EKGs, as well as holter monitoring to record a patient’s heart rate, palpitations, and irregular rhythms over a 24-hour period. The information we obtain from these tests helps determine whether a patient could benefit from specific medical procedures or changes to medications and dosages.

Diabetes for Adults

Diabetes mellitus is an illness defined by the body’s inability to regulate high blood sugar. The most common type of diabetes is Type II diabetes, which occurs when the body is either resistant to insulin or otherwise does not produce enough insulin to manage blood glucose levels. A person may be pre-diabetic for many years before developing the disease. Adults who are diabetic and pre-diabetic should see a Vail doctor for frequent check-ups, glucose monitoring and active disease management.

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Did you know more than 29 people in the U.S. are living with diabetes? Of those, more than 1 in 4 have not yet been diagnosed and are not receiving treatment for the condition. A person with diabetes in Vail needs managed care to help prevent the condition from worsening. Without it, an untreated diabetic may be at increased risk for severe complications, such as nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness, heart disease and skin infections.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

The initial symptoms of diabetes may be subtle, allowing many people to live completely unaware of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms include frequent urination, exceptional thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, weight gain, gum disease, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Some people may also notice cuts, bruises or other minor wounds that do not heal as quickly as they once did.

What are the risk factors for diabetes?

The single biggest risk factor for developing Type II diabetes in Vail is being overweight. Nearly all patients who are diagnosed with the disease are overweight at the time of diagnosis, and more than half are obese. Abdominal fat presents the highest risk and is considered far more dangerous than the subcutaneous fat that accumulates just beneath the skin. Other risk factors include a family history of diabetes, advanced age and being of African American or South Asian descent.

How will my Vail internal medicine physician treat my diabetes?

Lifestyle changes are the most effective means of managing diabetes, as many patients are capable of achieving long-term glucose management simply by losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle. However, it is important to continue monitoring blood sugar levels and seeing a physician for disease management. In many cases, individuals with Type II diabetes require medical intervention, such as anti-diabetic drugs and insulin therapy.

Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

It is important to understand the metabolic syndrome is not an illness in itself, but rather a collection of conditions considered risk factors for related health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. There are five risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, which tend to occur together. A patient must have a minimum of three risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in Vail.

Did you know that more than one in three adults in the U.S. is obese? Another third are not obese, but do have a large waistline due to being overweight. Since excess belly fat is a major metabolic syndrome risk factor, people who struggle with being overweight or obese should see a Vail internal medicine physician to discover strategies and treatments for losing weight and reducing metabolic syndrome risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to obesity, what are the other risk factors for metabolic syndrome?

There are four other metabolic syndrome risk factors, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater the risk of developing diseases and complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, can exacerbate the dangers of metabolic syndrome and further increase the risk of developing a serious illness or suffering an adverse event, such as a heart attack or stroke.

What are the treatments for metabolic syndrome in Vail?

The most effective means of treating metabolic syndrome are not medically induced, but rather contributed to a patient’s lifestyle changes. There are several steps a person can take to address each of the metabolic syndrome risk factors, including obesity. Exercise, for example, can not only help a person lose weight, but it can also help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. Similarly, eating a healthy diet that is low in saturate fats, trans-fats, salt and processed sugar can help improve blood glucose levels, cholesterol and blood pressure.

What will my doctor do about my weight?

The job of your physician is to help you become the healthiest version of yourself possible. If you require additional support outside of lifestyle changes to manage your metabolic syndrome, your Vail doctor may recommend certain types of medical interventions, such as medications and procedures designed to encourage weight loss, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels and lower triglycerides. You may also be placed on a low-dose aspirin to help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

What is Cardiology?

Cardiology is a specialty branch of medicine dedicated to the treatment and prevention of heart disease. [city] cardiologists help patients learn how to manage heart disease and better prevent future complications. Cardiologists also play an important role in the treatment of heart attacks and other cardiologic conditions like heart failure and heart rhythm disruptions. A cardiologist makes important decisions about patient care, including when to conduct a heart surgery, catheterization, or other intervention. They work closely with other doctors to ensure patients are receiving optimal treatment and disease management.

Did you know…

that heart disease is number one cause of death in the U.S.? In fact, cardiovascular diseases account for approximately one in every four total deaths in America. The disease is not a discriminator of gender or ethnicity. Cardiologists help patients learn how to avoid becoming a statistic by reducing risk factors. A combination of medications, weight loss, and exercise can significantly reduce a patient’s chances of developing heart disease. Patients also benefit when they quit smoking, avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, and work to achieve lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be seeing a cardiologist in [city]?

You may be referred to a cardiologist if your doctor believes that you have a heart or cardiovascular condition that requires specialty care. Many patients are referred to cardiologists after experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pains. Others are referred to heart specialists for further evaluation of abnormal examinations. However, if you begin experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, or any of the other major signs of heart attack, bypass your doctor’s office and dial 9-1-1.

What should I expect during a visit to a [city] cardiologist?

The nature of your visit with a cardiologist will depend on your reason for being there. Initial visits usually consist of a review of medical history, followed by an analysis of physical symptoms. You’ll probably have your blood pressure checked, and your cardiologist will most likely examine your breathing and heartbeat. If further evaluation is necessary, your cardiologist may suggest x-rays, lab work, ECG, or some other type of specialized testing.

What types of changes will I need to make after consulting with a cardiologist?

Your cardiologist may instruct you to make changes following your visit – though your specific situation will be unique to you. Some patients are advised to make lifestyle changes, such as more balanced nutrition and increased activity levels. Others are prescribed medication to help prevent complications of cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension.

Anti-Coagulation Management

Anticoagulation management is a form of drug therapy used to inhibit the natural formation of blood clots in the body. Drugs are administered orally or via injection to prevent the body from forming clots that could put a patient’s health at risk. Examples include patients who have had a mechanical heart valve replacement or who have an atrial fibrillation. Anticoagulation management therapy may also be used to prevent existing blood clots from worsening.

Did you know…

that anticoagulation medications are often referred to as ‘blood thinners?’ However, this therapy does not make blood thinner, but rather prevents it from clotting. Due to the nature of anticoagulation medications, patients on this type of therapy must be carefully monitored by a physician to prevent complications and ensure stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need Vail anticoagulation management?

Only your physician can tell you if anticoagulation therapy is right for you. However, you may be a candidate if you suffer from deep vein thrombosis, atrial fibrillation, or are otherwise at risk for health complications caused by blood clotting.

What should I expect during Vail anticoagulation therapy?

Your doctor will determine whether oral or injectable anticoagulants are right for you and will establish a dosage designed to stabilize you blood. Be sure to tell your anticoagulation therapy physician if you are taking any medications, as some are known to conflict with anticoagulants. Your dosage will be monitored on an ongoing basis to minimize your risks and facilitate effective treatment.

Will I need to follow any special instructions while under Vail anticoagulation management?

Yes. Although anticoagulation therapy is highly beneficial for many patients, it can also pose certain risks. These medications can make you more susceptible to bruising and bleeding – even from the smallest of cuts. For your safety, you may be advised to avoid participating in certain activities that could put you at risk for complications.

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