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Common Conditions Treated by a Primary Care Doctor
Visits to primary care doctors account for many annual walk-in visits by Americans. Primary care doctors can diagnose and treat a wide array of conditions. Your primary care doctor should be your go-to person for medical services, checkups, and preventive care. Seeing your doctor occasionally has many advantages, including better overall health and longer life.
Common conditions in primary care
Primary care doctors treat a little bit of everything. They treat an entire spectrum of conditions, including hypertension, headaches, abdominal pain, and bronchitis. A patient can visit a doctor to discuss many health concerns from mental to physical and emotional issues. Here are some conditions treated by primary care doctors.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against a person’s artery walls is high enough that it may end up causing health problems like heart disease. Some people have hypertension for years without any signs and symptoms. However, even with no symptoms, damage to the heart and blood vessels continues. Hypertension usually develops over the course of several years.
Some people with hypertension may have nosebleeds, shortness of breath, or headaches. These signs and symptoms are usually not specific and often do not occur until hypertension has reached a life-threatening or severe stage. Fortunately, hypertension can be detected. At this point, a patient can work with a primary care doctor to control it.
Acute bronchitis is inflamed tissue and swelling in the main passages that carry air to a person’s lungs. This swelling makes it harder to breathe because it narrows the airways. Other symptoms of bronchitis include a cough, fever, coughing up mucus, shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest discomfort. Acute bronchitis is very common, and it usually develops from a cold or other respiratory infection.
Sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish the signs and symptoms of bronchitis and those of a common cold. During a physical exam, a doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to breathing sounds in the lungs. In some cases, a doctor may suggest tests such as a chest X-ray or pulse oximetry. Many patients do not require antibiotics for acute bronchitis caused by a virus. The infection usually goes away on its own within a week.
A doctor may recommend particular medicines to help loosen or break up mucus. If symptoms do not improve or if a patient is wheezing, a doctor may prescribe an inhaler to help open the airways. Antibiotics may be prescribed if a healthcare provider thinks a patient has bacteria in the airways. A doctor may also prescribe other medications that may help to reduce swelling in the lungs.
High blood pressure
Blood pressure is present whenever blood pushes against the walls of the arteries, whenever the blood travels from the heart to the other parts of the body. A person’s blood pressure goes up and down throughout each day. The movement will depend on the person’s activities. Normal blood pressure is equal to or below 120/80 millimeter mercury. Maintaining this normal pressure ensures good health.
High blood pressure is another word for hypertension. This is when blood pressure goes higher than normal levels. Elevated blood pressure puts a person at risk for developing health problems like stroke and cardiac arrest. Primary care doctors review a patient’s diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels. Then, these healthcare professionals will compare them to specific guidelines. Medications and treatments will then treat hypertension.
This is a medical condition in which the body cannot use insulin well or does not make the right amounts of insulin at all. Diabetes is a chronic health condition. It affects how the body transforms food into usable energy. Food breaks down into energy into glucose, which reaches the bloodstream and makes the blood sugar levels go up. This tells the pancreas to release insulin. This substance then tells the cells to start using glucose for energy.
Most of the food is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into the bloodstream. When blood sugar levels elevate, the pancreas releases more insulin. This substance allows the body’s cells to use glucose for energy. It then brings the blood glucose levels down.
Primary care doctors are fully equipped to effectively treat a wide variety of conditions. Some common conditions these doctors encounter are hypertension and bronchitis. They can also help to minimize the impact of diseases like diabetes. If you want to learn more about the services primary care doctors provide, get in touch with your doctor.
Call us today at (212) 548-3263 for more information from Marina Gafanovich, MD.
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