The main goals of chronic disease management at the medical front are to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life for patients, and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. Many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease all have the characteristics of being chronic, meaning that patients may be diagnosed with them for years before there is any obvious progression or treatment. Ongoing research and the introduction of new treatments are constantly improving the management of these conditions. For example, advancements in medical research have helped doctors to diagnose the condition in its early stages, resulting in earlier and more effective treatment of patients.
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Patients can benefit from ongoing research, which can provide a wealth of knowledge regarding disease prevention and management. The most effective way to do this is through a coordinated effort between the primary health care team and the specialty clinic. This coordinated effort is known as coordinating care. It allows the specialists to work together in a coordinated fashion, ensuring that each patient gets the very best care. With specialized training in geriatric medicine, patients can benefit from receiving preventative care, such as physical exams, weight control, regular blood tests, and screening for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other conditions linked to old age.
Patients with chronic conditions should also see their physicians on a regular basis for assessments and to help determine the best course of action for their health. These assessments and other measures should involve a comprehensive review of medical histories and of the daily functioning and habits of the patients. This helps to ensure that appropriate tests are done and that the necessary treatments are administered if needed. For example, physical exams should be done periodically to check for signs of bone deterioration, mental status, and organ function. Vital signs, such as the blood pressure, are also important to know because they show how well the heart and lungs are functioning, and thus how well the patient is able to control his or her own body functions. Smoking cessation, exercise, and weight management, if applied in conjunction with the special tests recommended by the physician, can also considerably reduce the likelihood of a relapse in the chronic condition.