If you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as diabetes or hypertension, your best course of action to stay on top of your condition is to have a close partnership with a family medicine doctor.
Your family medicine doctor, who will be your primary care physician, plays an indispensable role in helping you navigate your way to good health. Your doctor can help you stay organized and cognizant of how your condition may affect your body, especially in the long run. Nonetheless, keep in mind that you’re still chiefly responsible for your own health, and that you have to establish clear, open communication with your physician, so as to achieve good outcomes.
Let these tips help you better communicate with your family medicine doctor about managing your chronic illness:
1.) Ask questions.
During your appointments, don’t hesitate to raise all your questions. This is a great way to let your family medicine doctor know that you’re actively involved in the management and treatment of your condition.
Here are some of the questions you can ask your family medicine doctor:
- How often should I see you for my condition?
- Are there any diet modifications that will help me with my condition?
- What is the long-term outlook?
- Could my condition affect other parts of my body, such as my eyes, gastrointestinal system, or kidneys?
- What are the possible complications?
- Will my children inherit my condition?
2.) Discuss the different treatment options.
You will be able to take better control of your condition when you are aware of what is happening and fully involved in the decision-making process. Discuss with your doctor what your treatment entails.
Here are some of the things pertaining to your treatment that you can discuss with your doctor:
· Treatment Choices
Each health condition has a unique management approach. That is to say, managing hypertension will not be the same as managing diabetes, regardless of the fact that they have somewhat identical risk factors. Ask your doctor for all the possible choices.
· Risks and Benefits
Once you have an idea of the choices available to you, talk to your family medicine doctor about the risks and benefits of each one. This makes it easier for you to weigh your options. Gather as much information as you can about the side effects, the duration of treatment, and the likelihood of a positive outcome.
· Their Effects on Your Life
When considering the pros and cons of each treatment option, don’t forget to consider their impact on your life as a whole. For instance, you have to find out if the side effects of a treatment can interfere with your ability to carry out tasks in your job, or whether the costs of the treatment will crack your nest egg in the long run.
Your doctor will take everything into consideration, even these practical matters, toward creating a treatment plan that best suits your needs and situation.
3.) Ask for peer support group recommendations.
It’s a given that you can’t navigate through your condition all alone, so ask your family medicine doctor for peer support group recommendations. While your doctor is always there to guide you throughout the treatment process, it greatly helps to have people to “cheer you on.”
Peer support groups provide a platform for people facing similar challenges with their chronic health conditions to connect with each other. You can either meet your groupmates physically or online to share information and consult them for solutions or answers to your questions about anything pertaining to your condition. This gives you an opportunity to feel “heard” and empowers you to take control of your health.
Research evidence shows that peer support groups from and for people living with chronic diseases are beneficial for improving health outcomes.
Reliable, Board-Certified Family Medicine Doctor in Fort Worth, TX
If you’re looking to team up with a highly-skilled, experienced family medicine doctor to help you effectively manage your chronic condition, visit us at Texas Medical Institute. Our family physicians provide personalized, ongoing care for chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. We will do a comprehensive evaluation to assess where you are in your condition and devise a treatment plan that will fully address your needs.