Everyone knows that relationships are important. We spend our lives nurturing relationships with our parents, our significant others, our children, friends and others. Perhaps one of the most important relationships, however, is the one we have with our Primary Care Physicians.
Almost 93 percent of babies and children have regular contact with a health care provider but that number drops to around 80 percent for adults. Are you guilty of putting off routine visits to a doctor? Don’t wait for an emergency! The following list will outline why it is beneficial to develop a solid relationship with the best primary care physicians.
Top 5 Reasons You Need A Primary Care Physician
- Routine Screenings – We all want to live a healthy, disease free life and one way to make sure this happens is to get routine screenings. Everyone is different and depending on your own personal risk factors and current health, you and your doctor will decide what you need and when you need it. Your screening schedule could include things like: cholesterol check, blood pressure check, mammogram, STD tests, Hepatitis C test, colon cancer screening, bone density check, HIV check, prostate cancer screening, vision checks and more depending on your age and concerns.
- Your Health History – When your family physician is aware of the intricacies of your complete health history, it’s the best way to understand and predict any possible future issues. Knowing what your risk is for developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes or stroke will give you and your doctor a heads up in the best treatment or prevention. When your primary care physician knows your history, they can better determine what screenings you need and when you need them. Having a close family member with a chronic disease or if you live with a smoker are all details that get shared over time and will determine your course of treatment.
- Manage Chronic Illness – The best primary care physicians can help with chronic diseases like arthritis, lupus and diabetes. Any chronic diseases can affect every area of your life and when you have a good relationship with your doctor, they can feel comfortable about discussing recommended lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise that can help in managing your disease. You and your doctor can take the time to develop nutrition plans, exercise routines and even small changes that can add up to monumental differences! Your primary care physician can be a confidante and ally when you take the time to nurture the relationship.
- Referrals to Specialists – Remember when you were a kid and your mom took care of your schedule? That’s kind of like what having a primary care physician is like. This one doctor will be able to collaborate your care with all of the specialists you need. Your primary care physician knows your history and knows your needs. They can give you advice on the best doctors to see and also communicate directly with your specialists to make sure that you are getting the best care possible. They will make sure you understand what is happening and be able to address all of your concerns. Since your primary care physician has developed a relationship with you, they can answer any questions that you might feel uncomfortable asking a specialist with whom you have no relationship.
- Comfort – Last but certainly not least is comfort. Did you know studies have shown that people who have a family physician have more satisfaction with their medical care than people who don’t? Developing a positive and approachable relationship with a primary care physician is important. We don’t like telling strangers personal things, and if you keep something important a secret from your doctor because you’re embarrassed, this can have dire consequences. It takes time to be able to trust someone and the better you and your doctor get to know each other the easier it is to communicate openly and honestly about your very personal concerns. You want to feel comfortable and at ease talking to your doctor about personal things.
When you are looking for a primary care physician, perhaps the most important thing is to find someone who listens and someone who makes you feel comfortable. If you feel that your needs are being taken seriously and there is a genuine interest and concern for your well-being, then you’ll know you have found the right doctor.
If you’re young and healthy or older with health issues, everyone needs a primary care physician. Going to the ER is not the answer to primary care. Continuity of Care is a medical term that means you establish a trusting relationship with a family physician and over the years this relationship grows and keeps you healthier as you get older.
Making regular visits to your trusted primary care doctor results in not only better health, but a better education about what to prepare for your future.