Do you have a primary care physician? If you say, “no,” you are not alone. Many people who are younger and healthier think they do not need to have a primary doctor so they go without. This is too bad because the best way to stay healthy is to develop a good relationship with a primary care physician. It is easy to find doctors who agree with this. Here are some reasons you should have a primary care doctor.
- They can get to know you. Everyone is different. If you see a different doctor every time you have a medical problem, you will not get the best kind of care. The thing is that all of have different baselines for everything from our vital signs to our blood work. When you get to know a doctor, they get to know you. Developing a good relationship also means that you will get to know and trust them. That relationship means you will feel comfortable sharing personal information with them. You may not be as open with someone at local clinics because you do not know them. Your primary care doctor will notice changes in your health and can spot problems when they are small. The longer you know the person, the better they can get to know you.
- Your primary care doctor is the quarterback of your health team. When you do have to see a specialist, it is good to have one point person managing your care. In the first place, they are good place to help you find doctors who specialize in the problem you are having. So if you need to see an orthopedist, they can help you find one who takes your insurance. Having someone coordinate your care can help you avoid unpleasant medication interactions because they will have a list of everything you are taking, including supplements. As you need more specialists, it may be difficult for them to know everything you may be taking.
- They will work with you to keep you healthy. Your primary care physician will work with you to develop a wellness plan that keeps you as healthy as possible. They can help you prevent illnesses and be a resource for everything such as getting into shape, stopping smoking, deal with weight issues and work with you on depression and anxiety, if those are issues for you. When you set out to find doctors, you should think of this person as a partner in your health.
- They will set up routine tests. There are some screenings that everyone should have on a regular basis. At your annual check up, you will have your vital signs taken but you also need to go for routine blood work done. As we age, we need more and more testing to be done. We need colonoscopies and mammograms. Many people think that they only need to have certain tests unless they have symptoms of an illness but there are a lot of conditions that have no symptoms. In other cases, we do not experience symptoms until the condition until it is far advanced and more deadly. Things like diabetes or high blood pressure may not have symptoms.
- You will get in quicker. If you get sick and need to see a doctor, you will get into see one much faster if you have a relationship with a primary care doctor.
- Their office can help you in an emergency. Many people have experienced this. If you become ill or injured on the weekend or at night, you may not know what to do. Should you go to the emergency room? Can you get away with going to an urgent care center? If you have a primary care doctor, you can call their office and talk to a physician or a nurse and get a better sense of what kind of care you need. They can let you know when your problem needs treatment in the emergency room.
You would be hard pressed to find doctors who do not think having a primary care doctor is a good idea. There are a lot of health benefits to doing just that. You will have a greater peace of mind with one.