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Dr. Darshan Kapadia, M.D., Internal Medicine Associates of West Plano

Best Doctors in Collin County: Internal Medicine;2013

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What is chronic disease?

Chronic disease refers to disease states that are diagnosed at a young age and affect the individual for many years. Three of the most common chronic diseases are diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. If not properly diagnosed and treated over time, they can lead to severe complications involving multiple organ systems. This leads to poor quality of life, financial hardship, decreased longevity, and increased mortality. Inappropriate diagnosis and treatment of these disease states can lead to accelerated coronary artery disease, silent heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, and neuropathy (nerve pain).The cost associated with treating these complications is bankrupting our present health care system.

How are these diseases diagnosed?

The most important thing you can do for yourself and family is to be proactive about your health. Early diagnosis and prevention is the mantra we all should follow. Start by establishing a trusting relationship with a caring internist or family practice specialist who will spend the time needed to make the proper diagnosis and develop an individualized long-range treatment plan. A thorough preventive evaluation inclusive of a comprehensive medical history, physical examination, and laboratory testing/imaging studies unique to ones needs should be prescribed.

What are the signs and symptoms of Diabetes?

Diabetes is divided into Type I and Type II. Type I is characterized by absolute insulin deficiency due to pancreatic failure and usually present with the abrupt onset of excessive thirst/urination, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. It is most often diagnosed in childhood and adolescence.Type II diabetes is generally diagnosed in adults, but due to childhood obesity we are now diagnosing it in children. It is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Most Type II diabetics are asymptomatic and diagnosed through screening blood tests during the time of their preventive evaluation. Strong risk factors include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, older age, hypertension, elevated cholesterol/triglyceride levels, family history, gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and non-white ancestry. Once symptoms develop, they are similar to Type I. 

“The most important thing you can do for yourself and family is to be proactive about your health. ” 

How do I know I have high blood pressure?

Hypertension is a common disease state that affects a large proportion of our population. It is typically asymptomatic and often referred to as the “silent killer.” It is detected on routine physical examination or after the occurrence of a complication such as a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. Potential causes include genetics, obesity, diet, drugs, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, kidney disease, stress, and poor sleep. A normal blood pressure is <120/80mmHg. Pre-hypertension is 120-139/80, and anything above this is abnormal. 

What are the causes and dangers of high cholesterol levels?

Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels are asymptomatic and quiescent until a significant degree of atherosclerosis has occurred. Complications include heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death, erectile dysfunction, and peripherals vascular disease. Primary causes of high cholesterol are due to gene mutations and lead to premature atherosclerotic disease. Secondary causes are more common and include sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, hypothyroidism, alcohol dependency, liver disease, and diets rich in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids.

These three chronic disease states play a major role in the overall health and well being of our society (both physically and financially). If properly diagnosed and managed, individuals can age gracefully, dramatically improve their quality of life, and minimize financial hardship as they enter their well-earned retirement years.

Dr. Darshan Kapadia, M.D. has been honored as a “Best Doctor in Collin County” by D Magazine. For more information on Dr. Darshan Kapadia, visit our Medical Directory.