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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Internal Medicine Provider vs. Primary Care Provider


A care plan for individual needs

Internal medicine has always been a unique specialty to me. It encompasses the realms of primary care while extending a broad coverage of health care across the adult lifespan. You can expect to be treated for all your acute and chronic conditions through care by internal medicine practitioners.

When a patient is diagnosed with a chronic condition such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, anxiety/depression and so much more, they are often left with the feeling of “What’s next?” Receiving a new diagnosis or starting a new medication(s) can be life-altering for many patients; however, it does not have to be. Lifechanging conditions are not the end of your life but the start of your new one. The field of internal medicine is so broad, and as internists, we are trained to identify the individualized needs of each patient. Together, we can formulate a care plan that the patient is most comfortable with, and now what seemed to be new and overwhelming is a wellmanageable condition. We are by your side, walking through every season of life with you.

So, what is a chronic condition? A chronic condition is a condition or illness suspected to last for a long time. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is among Americans’ most common chronic conditions. Although high blood pressure can be caused by lifestyle choices, genetics, sex and age, other chronic illnesses can also contribute. Diabetes is also a prevalent chronic illness. Diabetes Type I is typically diagnosed in childhood and adolescent years and requires insulin treatment from initial diagnosis throughout the adult life span. Diabetes Type II is generally diagnosed during adulthood. This type of diabetes can be managed by oral medication or insulin. Anxiety and depression are also chronic conditions seen in internal medicine. Anxiety or depression may be a primary issue, meaning the anxiety or depression causes issues with your everyday activities, or it may be a secondary issue, meaning you have developed anxiety or depression as a result of something else (illness, social situation, a recent death, etc.).

One specialty area within internal medicine that is special to me is palliative care. Palliative care can be initiated for any life-altering condition, including congestive heart failure and cancer. Palliative care, in general, teaches the internist how to see and treat the patient holistically. It allows you time to get to know the patient and get to the root of their problem/illness. Palliative care will enable patients to live their lives to the fullest with a condition once considered life-altering.

Although many patients seen by internal medicine may not need palliative care, I have learned to utilize the fundamentals of palliative care to assess, diagnose and treat my patients. With that being said, you can expect to review your entire medical and social history, its impact on your life and your future goals of care and treatment at each visit. What may affect one person a certain way may not affect you the same … and that’s OK! It’s actually perfect because it is what makes you, you.

Choosing an internal medicine provider is an excellent start if you are looking for personalized care and a listening ear. We are ready to sit down with you and your family to discuss your health-care needs, and together we can devise a plan of care that you are comfortable with. Call and schedule an appointment today and see how internal medicine can make a difference in your life.

Emily Tull, ACNP-C, internal medicine at Highland Clinic Bossier. Call 318-795-4741 or visit highlandclinic.com.


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