Two types of diseases exist—acute and chronic. Chronic diseases develop over a period of time and take an even longer time to disappear. Symptoms tend to disappear and reappear and they do so at regular frequency. Trinity Medical Group offers specialized services for the treatment of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Types of Chronic Conditions
Also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Acid Reflux occurs when stomach acid or stomach content flows back into the esophagus, irritating its lining. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious problems, like Esophagitis or Barrett’s Esophagus, increasing your risk for cancer.
Treatment of Acid Reflux begins with over-the-counter medications that can control acid. If symptoms do not dissipate within a few weeks, your physician may recommend other treatments, including prescription medication or surgery.
Allergies—whether to environmental, food, medicinal, insect, or pet triggers—cause the immune system to overreact to various substances. The antibodies in our system cause some tissue-cells to release a protein called histamine. This makes the blood vessel walls permeable and fluids get released into the tissue that surrounds them, which in turn leads to inflammation.
Depending on the severity of the allergy, treatment can include avoiding triggers, over-the-counter or prescription medicine, immunotherapy, or emergency epinephine for the most severe allergies.
Arteriosclerosis (Hardening of the Arteries)
Also known as Hardening of the Arteries, Arteriosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff with plaque, leading to restricted blood flow to your organs and tissues. As it builds up over time, the heart will have to pump harder to get blood through those arteries, weakening it and causing more serious conditions to develop later, if left untreated.
Treatment of Arteriosclerosis begins with healthy lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular moderate exercise. Depending on how advanced the condition is, medication and/or surgery may be recommended.
Asthma is a condition that causes airways narrow and swell, producing extra mucus. Symptoms include shortness of breath, frequent coughing spells, chest tightness, a whistling sound when exhaling, and reduced energy levels.
The key to treating asthma attacks is to prevent them before they start. Your Trinity Medical Group physician can help you recognize triggers, and suggest steps to avoid them. They can also guide you on how to track your breathing to make sure your daily asthma medications are keeping symptoms under control. In case of an asthma flare-up, a quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol, is recommended.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Caused by smoking or prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke, caustic chemical fumes, dust, and air pollution, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. Two most common conditions encompassed under this category are Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis.
The first step of treatment of COPD is to refrain from smoking. Though lung damage cannot be reversed, effective treatments are available to control symptoms, reduce risk of complications, and improve ability to lead an active life. Medication, oxygen therapy, and surgery may be recommended depending on the severity of the condition.
Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health—it’s an important source of energy for the cells of your muscles and tissues and provides the main source of fuel for the brain. Diabetes causes an excess of glucose in the blood, leading to serious health problems. Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, and frequent infections.
Though full treatment of Diabetes depends on the type, all types benefit from healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising daily. Further treatment can include monitoring blood sugar, insulin therapy, and oral medications. For more serious conditions, surgery may be recommended.
Heart Disease describes a host of different conditions involving the heart. Diseases that fall under this category include coronary artery disease, blood vessel disease, heart arrhythmias, and congenital heart defects. Diagnosis of Heart Disease begins with a physical examination that can reveal a heart murmur. If this is discovered, patients can expect further testing to determine exactly what is going on inside the heart.
Treatment of Heart Disease begins with healthy lifestyle changes, including a healthy, low-fat and low-sodium diet, regular moderate exercise, refraining from smoking, and limiting alcohol intake. Medication may also be prescribed to combat levels of cholesterol in the blood and lower blood pressure. If lifestyle changes and medication are not enough, your physican may recommend surgery.
High Blood Pressure, also known as Hypertension, simply means that the blood flowing through your arteries to your heart and other organs is moving at an abnormally high pressure and could potentially cause harm to your arteries and organs if left untreated. Though symptoms can include dull headaches, dizzy spells, or a few more nosebleeds than normal, most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, so it’s important to get blood pressure checked regularly.
Treatment of High Blood Pressure begins with healthy lifestyle changes, including less sodium, regular exercise, maintaining healthy weight, and refraining from smoking. If lifestyle changes are not enough, medication can work to lower blood pressure.
Cholesterol, a waxy substance found in the blood, is typically used by the body to build healthy cells. However, when levels are very high, fatty deposits develop in the blood vessels. This buildup obstructs the flow of blood through the arteries to the heart and brain, increasing the risk of Heart Disease. Unfortunately, symptoms do not usually present themselves, so most people are unaware that their cholesterol levels are too high until they suffer a heart attack or they suffer a stroke.
Treatment of High Cholesterol begins with healthy lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise. If lifestyle changes are not enough, your physician may recommend medication.
Insomnia is a persistent disorder that leads to difficulty falling asleep and/or hard staying asleep. Those with this condition will often wake up often during the night and even though they feel tired, simply cannot fall back asleep.
Treatment for insomnia can begin with adjusting sleeping habits and addressing underlying causes such as medical conditions or medications. Further treatment can include medications to help relaxation and sleep.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). IBS is a chronic condition that you will need to manage long term. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Though uncomfortable, unlike other intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, IBS does not cause changes in bowel tissue and does not increase risk for cancer.
Since the cause of IBS is not clear, treatment focuses mainly on alleviating symptoms and may include dietary changes such as eliminating high-gas foods, gluten, and certain carbohydrates, and adding fiber supplements. If dietary changes are not enough, medication may be recommended.
Migraines are a condition that cause an intense throbbing sensation in one area of the head and are commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks cause debilitating pain for hours or even days. Some migraines are preceded by sensory warning symptoms, such as flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in your arm or leg.
Though they cannot be cured, physicians can help manage the condition with pain medications specifically designed to treat migraines.
Obesity is a disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat that results in an increased risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. A person is considered obese if their body mass index (BMI)) is 30 or higher.
The goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight. All treatment includes behavioral and lifestyle changes, including following a healthy diet and exercising daily. Patients with severe cases may opt to have surgery as well.
Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping. It is often hallmarked by bouts of loud snoring or sounds of momentarily choking due to a blocked airway. Though the cutoff of air only lasts seconds, over time it can cause bigger problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Treatment of mild cases of sleep apnea may include lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or refraining from smoking. Moderate to severe cases may be treated with devices to prevent airways from being blocked. The most severe cases may require surgery.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, tingling, or loss of movement on one side of the body only, vision change or loss of vision in one eye, speaking difficulty or slurring, difficultly with comprehension, and trouble walking.
A stroke is a medical emergency and prompt treatment is crucial since early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications. Your Trinity Medical Group physician can help you identify risk factors in your life and advice on how to lower your risk.
Vascular Disease describes a host of conditions that directly affect your circulatory system. They involve the buildup of plaque in arteries, restricting the flow of blood throughout the body. Conditions included within this category of diseases include Peripheral Artery Disease, Renal Artery Disease, and Pulmonary Vascular Disease.
Treatment of Vascular Disease begins with healthy lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet, regular moderate exercise, and refraining from smoking. Medication may also be prescribed. If lifestyle changes and medication is not enough, your physician may recommend surgery.