Interior Community Health Center
Health Center & Dental Clinic located in Fairbanks, AK & Healy, AK
Chronic Disease Care
If you have a long-lasting condition, like heart disease or diabetes, you likely need a good primary care provider to help you improve or maintain your quality of life. The team at Interior Community Health Center provides high quality chronic disease care, and works with you to manage your chronic disease and reduce your risk of complications.
Common chronic conditions:
- Heart Disease
- High blood pressure/ hypertension
- High Cholesterol/ hyperlipidemia
- Thyroid problems
- Chronic lung or kidney diseases
- Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders
What exactly are chronic conditions?
Chronic conditions (also called chronic disease or chronic illness) are healthcare issues that are expected to last a long time—as opposed to issues like the flu that generally resolve over a few days or weeks. Chronic conditions can develop slowly or worsen over an extended period of time, anywhere from months to years. They often cannot be cured, only treated, managed, or controlled. This can require changes in lifestyle behaviors such as diet and exercise, taking medication or completing physical therapy. Sometimes, the early stages of chronic conditions don’t have any warning signs, so it’s important to get preventive screenings to avoid chronic conditions or catch them early enough to treat them effectively. Prevention of chronic conditions by practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors is also important.
Can Interior Community Health Center manage chronic conditions that are not on the above list?
Absolutely! As a primary care practice, we are your first stop for managing your health conditions. Even if we can’t manage your care all on our own, we can help coordinate care with specialists. Make an appointment today to discuss your case with our providers and see if we are a good fit for you.
How can I manage my chronic disease?
Start by choosing a primary care provider and making an appointment to discuss your personal healthcare needs. Every patient is unique. Your provider will help you make a plan to manage your care, which can include medication, lab tests, lifestyle changes, referrals to a specialist, surgery, occupational or physical therapy, and more, depending on the needs of your condition and your desires for your treatment. You may need to have regular follow-up visits with your provider to update your plan to fit your needs.
I have diabetes. How often do I need to see my provider?
Every patient is different, but a good rule of thumb is that if your blood sugars are under good control, you should see your provider every 6 months to make sure they stay that way. If your blood sugars are not under good control, then you should see your provider at least once every 3 months, or once a month if they are very poorly controlled or if your treatment regimen isn’t working for you yet. Diabetes is a complex condition, and gaining control over your diabetes can be a long process. We are here to help you find a management plan that works for you.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is the medical term for chronic high blood pressure. High blood pressure, left uncontrolled, eventually causes damage to your heart and arteries and to the rest of your body. It can lead to strokes, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney disease, among other complications. Even if you don’t feel ill, high blood pressure still needs to be monitored and treated, because the damage can build up over time without any sign.
When is my blood pressure considered “high?”
The American Heart Association provides a very handy graphic guide with categories that neatly illustrate how to understand your blood pressure readings. You can find it here.
When you get your blood pressure taken at a primary care visit, your provider will tell you if it is high, and what your target pressure should be, as it can be different based on your age and other medical conditions. Generally, if you have hypertension, you want your blood pressure at home to at least be below 140/90. That means your systolic pressure should be below 140, and your diastolic pressure should be below 90.