A chronic illness—such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis or obesity—is a health condition that tends to be more long lasting and can often affect other aspects of your life. Chronic illnesses often cannot be cured but can be controlled and managed with help from your family medicine or internal medicine physician.

At NorthShore, our team of expert primary care physicians will work in partnership with you to develop a personalized plan to best manage your chronic illness or disease. This often involves more frequent visits to check in on your health status, and if necessary, referring you to additional specialists.

Both our Family Medicine and Internal Medicine physicians are well equipped to help:

  • Answer your health-related questions
  • Guide you through management and treatment of your illness
  • Provide you with additional resources and support

Below is are some of the more common chronic illnesses that we help treat:

Diabetes | Heart Disease | Hypertension | Arthritis | Obesity

Diabetes
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) is a chronic illness that affects more than 8% of Americans at every age.  If you have diabetes, routine visits with your primary care physician will be essential to properly ensure you have the disease well managed.

Our team of family medicine and internal medicine physicians can work in partnership with you and other specialists to manage your diabetes through medication and lifestyle changes. Getting your blood sugar levels in check when you have diabetes is very important, as it can help reduce your risk of developing other serious complications such as heart disease and blindness. Pregnant women should coordinate care with their obstetrician to test for gestational diabetes.

You can help reduce your odds of getting Type 2 diabetes by maintaining a proper weight through healthy eating and regular physical activity. Lowering your risk for diabetes can also help reduce your risk of getting heart disease.

Heart disease
Heart disease can refer to many different conditions of the heart—coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure and more. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. amongst men and women, it is important to know the risks, symptoms and prevention methods.

As with so many other chronic conditions, prevention is key in helping to reduce your risk. Regular visits with your family medicine or internal medicine physician, along with appropriate screenings can help identify a problem before it becomes too serious.

When it comes to matters of the heart, some of the best preventative measures include:

  • Exercising on a routine basis
  • Eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding or quitting smoking
  • Having a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level

Our primary care experts will work with you and your cardiovascular team to ensure you are on track for healthy heart care.

Hypertension
High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is a chronic condition that if not properly managed can lead to heart disease and stroke. Your blood pressure relates to how hard blood pushes against your artery walls when your heart is pumping blood (contracting) and when it is at rest. High blood pressure is considered anything at or above 140/90 mmHg.

Symptoms of hypertension are usually silent which is why it is important to monitor and discuss any concerns with your primary care physician at your regular office visits. At every appointment, we will check your blood pressure. If we suspect further evaluation is necessary, an additional exam and tests may be necessary.

Following a healthy lifestyle, including engaging in regular physical activity; eating a nutritious diet and avoiding excess sodium; maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, may help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.

Arthritis
The pain, stiffness, swelling and other symptoms caused by arthritis—an inflammation of a joint—can have many different causes. The most common types of arthritis include: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis. While arthritis is often thought to be a condition in elderly patients, it can affect people of all ages, including children and young adults.

Arthritis is more than just minor joint pain. Due to a patient’s limited mobility because of the painful condition, it can often lead to other illnesses.

Our team of primary care physicians can work with you to manage your symptoms and best treatment options for your arthritis. Should additional expertise be necessary, we will refer you to one of our many qualified specialists.

Obesity
Obesity is a very common chronic illness that consists of having an excessive amount of body fat. More than one-third of all adults in the U.S. suffer from obesity which can unfortunately be a catalyst for many other serious illnesses, including diabetes, stroke, arthritis, various types of cancer and heart conditions.

Due to the high-risk obesity poses on your overall health, it is very important to get it under control as quickly as possible. Your family medicine and internal medicine physician can help you develop weight loss strategies and keep you on track to reach your goals. This treatment plan will combine proper diet with routine exercise to help you reach a healthy weight, as well as a healthy body mass index (BMI) measurement.

Depending on the severity of your obesity, more aggressive treatment may be necessary. You should discuss these options, which may include bariatric surgery, with your primary care physician.

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