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Is There a Way to Hit Pause on the Most Common Primary Care Diagnoses?

Dr. Heydi Gutierrez Sligh, MD

While some of the most frequently-occurring health conditions Americans face seem inevitable, many aren’t. If you’re worried about the heart condition or diabetes that runs in your family, taking a few simple steps today can significantly impact your health tomorrow.

“While genetics and heredity certainly have an influence, individual choices have a much larger effect on health and longevity for the majority of people,” says Dr. Heydi Gutierrez Sligh, MD, a primary care provider at Saint Francis Center of Hope. Whether you tackle a revamp of your diet or try to tamp down an unhelpful habit, these measures can help you regain a little more clarity and calm over your health. As a bonus, they’ll make you feel much better, too.

The Three Most Common Diagnoses (and What to Do About Them)

So let’s talk strategy. Here’s some quick information about three prevalent diagnoses:


Hypertension is a condition involving consistently elevated blood pressure. The blood flowing through hypertensive patients’ bodies pushes too hard on their artery walls. This forces the heart to work harder to move blood through the circulatory system. Without treatment, this can lead to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and other dangerous cardiac issues.

Take back control: If hypertension runs in your family or your blood pressure veers too far above textbook 120/80, you may want to consider limiting salt intake, prioritizing a healthy diet, moving your body regularly, and quitting smoking for good.


Hyperlipidemia is a condition where there’s too much fat in your blood.  Also termed “high cholesterol,” hyperlipidemia can increase a patient’s risk of stroke and heart attack. How? If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, some of that cholesterol clumps together and creates plaque on your artery walls. This makes it far more difficult for blood to flow through your arteries.

Take back control: Managing high cholesterol is a long effort, and many people require medication. You can reduce that likelihood by avoiding saturated fats, increasing fiber intake, eating more omega-3s, and managing stress levels.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes affects the way your body uses sugar as fuel. If this process is not carefully managed, patients can have too much sugar in their blood.  Consistently-heightened blood sugar can trigger many frustrating symptoms (such as frequent urination, blurred vision, and fatigue) and, later, severe conditions that affect the eyes, nerves, kidneys, and heart.

Take back control: Managing type 2 diabetes, like hyperlipidemia, is likely a lifelong journey. Many patients can manage the disease through a healthy diet, modest weight loss, and regular exercise. Some patients require diabetes medications, as well, in addition to a healthy lifestyle.

We’re Here for When You Need a Little Extra Personal Guidance

Determining the conditions that matter most to you and your loved ones can feel tricky.  Staying the course on a healthier-life at-home treatment plan can be even more challenging.

Saint Francis Hospital, in Wilmington, Delaware, is now offering appointments. Here, you can speak with a primary care physician ready to listen to your needs and provide expert medical care. Call us at 302-660-7333 to get in touch with a provider, or follow us on Facebook to learn more about the benefits we’re bringing to our community.

“We know people can sometimes be reluctant to get their regular checkups, but we’re all passionate about helping you feel healthier every day,” says Dr. Gutierrez Sligh. “If these diagnoses are looming a little too large, see what taking back control feels like.  We’ll be here to cheer you on every step of the way.”

Saint Francis Center of Hope
620 Stanton-Christiana Road, Suite 302
Newark, Delaware 19713

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