doctor talking to patient

Road to Relief: Managing a Chronic Disease

Being diagnosed with a chronic condition—like hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes or asthma—can feel overwhelming. To help you through this process, we asked James Kriseman, DO, of Overlake Clinics Primary Care – Redmond, and Christy Chan, MD, of Overlake Clinics Primary Care – Kirkland, to share some of the many ways they help patients get back on the road to good health.

How can those with chronic conditions find the best care?

Dr. Kriseman: A primary care provider is the hub and sets up all of the spokes of the wheel for complete care. [He or she] educates patients about their disease and, if necessary, gets specialists involved. The doctor can also refer the patient to ancillary services. We have nutrition programs for people with diabetes, for example, and exercise programs that cater to people with different conditions.

More and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes. What is Overlake doing to help?

Dr. Chan: Overlake is currently focusing on improving quality measures for the care we provide [to people with diabetes]. We provide diabetes education for our patients as well as get them involved in exercise programs such as yoga.

Obesity puts people at high risk for other conditions besides diabetes, including heart disease and some cancers. What can Overlake offer people struggling with weight concerns?

Dr. Kriseman: Treatment at Overlake ranges from simple dietary monitoring to pharmaceutical to bariatric (weight-loss) surgery, and all are interwoven to provide the best care for each patient. Overlake is also taking the stigma and shame away. The first thing is to have doctors as well as ancillary staff who are not judgmental. If you have a doctor who says, “You didn’t lose your five pounds,” but never asks you, “What’s been going on in your life?”—maybe you just couldn’t do it—it’s a little rough. There’s got to be some empathy.

Given people’s busy lives, what is being done to help make care convenient for patients?

Dr. Chan: One of Overlake’s goals is to provide increased access for residents, especially on the Eastside, to primary care, whether it be through clinic or urgent care clinics. We’ve opened many new clinics in the past few years, hoping to provide that access. Furthermore, we have many specialists who are part of the team. Many providers are also involved with the community, such as providing sports physicals for schools, providing care at community health fairs, and giving talks to local communities or senior centers.