Although many chronic diseases are preventable, they are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Family doctors are in a unique position to help patients prevent or manage chronic disease. They build relationships with patients and often treat multiple members of the same family, allowing them to better understand family medical histories that can help identify risk factors for chronic disease. Because they treat the whole patient, not just one condition, family doctors can advise patients on how best to manage chronic diseases.

The Facts: Behaviors and Chronic Disease

A significant portion of the sickness and early death associated with chronic disease can be attributed to four behaviors:  lack of exercise, poor nutrition, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. These are unhealthy behaviors that can be changed.

Primary Care: Connecting the Dots for Patients with Chronic Disease

A growing body of evidence shows that chronic medical conditions are best managed in a primary care setting. In areas of the country where there are more primary care providers per person, death rates from chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke are lower and people are less likely to be hospitalized.¹

That’s because patients with access to coordinated, comprehensive care have better outcomes.

Family doctors treat patients, not conditions.  We want everyone to have a doctor who sees them as a whole person and provides them with quality, coordinated care.

Focus on your hypertension: (English) (Spanish)

Focus on your diabetes: (English) (Spanish)

Focus on your heart disease: (English) (Spanish)

[1] The Commonwealth Fund. “Health Reform & You – Primary Care: Our First Line of Defense. June 12, 2013. Available at http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/files/publications/health-reform-and-you/health-reform_primary-care_612.pdf.

– See more at: Health is Primary