Chronic diseases are ones that have no definitive cure. At JW Family Health in Fulshear, TX, we deal with chronic diseases daily. These include things like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, thyroid issues, asthma, COPD, and others. The goal of treating chronic diseases is to keep them under control.
Not keeping up with your treatment will only make things worse. At JW Family Health, we try to explain to patients that diabetes and hypertension aren’t harmful if they’re well controlled. It’s the complications that develop because of them that we worry about and try to prevent to the best of our abilities.
The treatment of chronic diseases doesn’t lead to a cure, but it allows patients to lead normal lives. Those with type I diabetes almost always require insulin. Alternatively, patients who have type II diabetes start by taking oral hypoglycemic drugs, although many of them end up requiring insulin. The drugs and doses are adjusted based on blood glucose readings.
Hypertension is another common condition that millions of people suffer from throughout the world. We start most patients on antihypertensive drugs like diuretics or calcium channel blockers. Persistently high blood pressure readings might require combining drugs or searching for an underlying cause of hypertension.
Why is the treatment of these conditions so important? Persistently high blood glucose levels and high blood pressure lead to multiple morbidities. These include retinopathy, neuropathy, renal damage, and up to heart failure and stroke.
Screening for the development of these problems is another major aspect of management. We test for neuropathy using what is called a monofilament test. Nephropathy is assessed by measuring the amount of albumin in the urine.
The patient plays a huge role in the management of his or her chronic condition. You need to keep taking your drugs even if you feel fine because high blood pressure and diabetes won’t always produce symptoms.
Keeping up with your annual screenings and check-ups is also essential. The tighter the control we have over these conditions, and the sooner we detect potential problems, the better the state of health you’ll be in.