How Family Practices Help You Cope With Chronic Illness

Whether you are a child, adolescent, or adult, a family care physician can be a great tool to help you cope with chronic illness. While specialists may be needed to help with your specific condition, it's also important that you visit with your family doctor about it. You'll quickly notice the benefits of a family care physician as part of your treatment plan.

1. Family Care Physicians Know Your Health History

One major advantage of a family doctor is that the doctor knows your personal health history, as well as that of your siblings, parents, and/or children. Health trends can be notified and genetic counseling suggested when necessary. Signs of chronic illness – such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and epilepsy – can be found earlier when you visit the same clinic regularly.

2. Family Care Physicians Refer You to Specialists

Another important factor in seeking medical attention from a family doctor is that you can be referred to the right specialist. While insurance coverage is a consideration for those seeking special care, it's also important that you see the best specialist for you. Not only should you be referred to someone in the right field of medicine, but your physician can help you find a specialist who suits your personality, as well. For example, if you are anxious about discussing your illness and getting medical tests, a specialist who is more conservative and gentle might fit you better than one who is all business and statistics. Lastly, all test results return to your primary care doctor for review and a continued, personalized patient plan.

3. Family Care Physicians Educate You

In a family clinic, you are more likely to get personal instruction from a doctor than you do at urgent care or another walk-in clinic. That is because your physician is more invested in you in the long run than a doctor who only expects to see you once. One benefit of this patient-provider relationship is that you are better educated about your illness. When a physician takes the time to sit down with you and teach you about the causes, symptoms, and management of your illness, you are more invested in a treatment plan. You can see how your behaviors affect your overall health and are more willing to make adjustments in your lifestyle when necessary.

4. Family Care Physicians Monitor Changes in Health

Chronic illness symptoms can remain constant for years and then change suddenly – for better or worse – in a matter of weeks. Your physician will monitor these changes and help you know when to anticipate a worse bout of symptoms and when to expect some relief. Noting these changes in your health will also give your family doctor an idea of what medications are more effective, when doses need to be adjusted, and when a new treatment plan is necessary.

5. Family Care Physicians Help You set Goals

When it comes to a lifelong ailment, your goals and your perspective can make a big difference in your overall health. Your family care physician will assist you in setting short- and long-term goals that will help you get to the highest level of health possible. Depending on your condition, you might be setting goals about what foods to eat more of and which to avoid, what exercise routine to adopt, and how much sleep to get each night. As you report to your health care provider, you can gain more confidence that you are on course to the healthiest you possible. When you struggle to meet your goals, your physician provides motivation and support (and can adjust them as necessary).

Family practices do more than see patients for an annual physical exam. They are invested in your long-term wellbeing and that of your family. If you suffer from a chronic illness, it's important to have a family doctor at a clinic like Entira Family Clinics you see regularly about your conditions.