Focusing on your overall health is important for anyone no matter your age or current health status. While living a healthy lifestyle is crucial, having a primary care physician that you see regularly is also key to leading a healthy life.
A primary care physician, or “PCP”, can be the doctor you see for everyday health concerns as well as the doctor that will treat or refer you to specialists when more serious or complex health issues arise. These physicians are familiar with your overall health, family history and can be a dependable guide when navigating through your health and wellness. Keep reading to learn more about why you need a primary care physician.
Monitor Overall Health
While a primary care physician is there for you when you have the flu, a painful earache, or other health issues, they also play a huge role in keeping you healthy. They know your entire health history, and can take a look at the bigger picture when diagnosing whatever it may be that you came in for. PCP’s can also provide preventative care, helping you avoid illness and disease as well as catch serious issues early – providing you with more treatment options and typically a better outcome.
Receive Regular Screening
If you are in good health and under the age of 50, it is recommended you see your primary care physician every three years, or whenever a health concern arises. Once you are over 50, once a year is the recommendation as long as you continue to have a clean bill of health. These regular visits give your PCP the opportunity to order bloodwork to test things like cholesterol, blood sugar and other important aspects of your health such as thyroid, kidney and liver function. They will also record your height, weight, temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate to compare with past visits as well as listen to your heart and lungs to note anything abnormal.
Provide Access to Specialists
When a serious health concern arises, it can be scary and confusing to know where to turn, find out what doctors you need to visit, and learn what treatments are available to you. A primary care physician can act as a guide in this process, referring you to specialists as needed. Your PCP will work with the specialist to get them up to date on your health history and provide them with any information they may need to ensure that you are on the best treatment plan available.
Manage Chronic Illness
Chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and many others, can lead to other health issues if not managed correctly. A primary care physician can treat chronic health issues with medication and recommended lifestyle changes that can benefit these illnesses as well as your overall health. Having a PCP that regularly monitors any changes in your conditions will help to treat these issues early – helping avoid potential hospitalizations or surgeries.
Lower Healthcare Costs
Preventative healthcare has been known to have a direct impact on lowering overall and lifetime healthcare costs. By regularly getting screened by your PCP and having an open communication with your doctor, you can prevent conditions from worsening, avoid serious issues, and start treating conditions early, leading to lower costs in the long run. On top of that, many preventative healthcare options, such as checkups and physicals, are typically covered by insurance or are low in cost.
While visiting the doctor for a routine checkup is often not on the priority list, the benefits are crucial in managing your overall health. All primary care physicians are expertly trained to treat a broad range of health conditions, but each have a different background and focus. Some treat patients of all ages, while others specialize in the care of women, seniors or children. The right primary care doctor depends on your, and your family’s, personal health care needs. Southwoods Health has a growing list of primary care physicians located in offiffices around the Mahoning Valley. To see a complete list of these doctors, visit SouthwoodsPrimaryCare.com.