Many people who are young and healthy do not think they need to have a primary care doctor. Some will go to family care physicians if they have a family but young adults do not always see the value in going in for annual check-ups. That is really too bad because having a good relationship with a doctor at the family health clinic can prevent the need for visits to the emergency walk in clinic when you become ill or injured, as everyone does at one time or another. Here are some of the reasons to start your primary care physician search:
- A primary care doctor can treat a lot of conditions. They can help their patients handle a wide variety of problems that range from a back injury to the flu to issues people have with their digestive system. They can also be instrumental in preventing, diagnosing, and treating more serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. If you go to them with a problem that they cannot help you with, they can put you in touch with a specialist who can handle the problem. The better your relationship is with your doctor, the better the care you will receive will be. If you have an emergency, they can also tell you when you need to go to an emergency walk in clinic or pay a visit to an emergency room.
- Your primary care doctor should be thought of as the quarterback of your medical team. When you need to see a specialist, which just about everyone does at some point in their lives, or more than one specialist, as is also very common, your primary care doctor’s office can make recommendations and help coordinate all of your medical care. They can keep a comprehensive list of all of the medications that are prescribed by all of your doctors to make sure none have interactions with each other that could jeopardize your health.
- If you are healthy, they will keep you that way. The best way to avoid needing to go to an emergency walk in clinic is to develop a good relationship with your doctor. They get to know you and what your baseline vitals are. Everyone is a little different. For instance, the blood pressure 120/80 is often considered to be a great reading but it may not be for you. Your blood pressure may run lower so that a reading like that may indicate a problem. If you get your health care at a local medical walk in clinic, they never get to know you and your normal readings. Your primary care doctor can also help you with things such as better stress and anxiety management, quit smoking, or reach a more healthy weight.
- You can get routine tests done. From time to time, we all need to have bloodwork done to look at things such as our cholesterol tested. People also need mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks, and other tests run. Those will all be coordinated through your primary care doctor’s office. There are some diseases and conditions that can be very dangerous but that often have no symptoms associated with them. These include type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. By getting an annual check-up, you can prevent these conditions to catch them before they become too serious too treat.
- It can save you time. Not only does going in for an appointment with your primary care doctor take less time than a visit to an emergency walk in clinic or hospital emergency room but when you have a good relationship with a doctor, they will be more able to get you in faster when you have a problem such as the flu, an ear infection, an upper respiratory infection or something else that you may want to be seen sooner than later for.
Some people do not think they need to go to a primary care doctor every year for a checkup because they are already healthy. The irony of that thought is that the best way to get or stay in good health is not to wait until you need to go to an emergency walk in clinic.