Why You Need a Primary Care Provider and a Yearly Checkup
While you might not call your primary care provider (PCP) your best friend, there’s probably no one else who knows your body as well. Your PCP:
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- Keeps track of your full health history, including your allergies and illnesses
- Monitors your lifestyle habits and health
- Documents which diseases you or your family members have and suggests ways to prevent illness
- Helps you stay well by making sure you’re up-to-date on your screenings and vaccinations
- Provides the best advice to prevent illnesses and disease to help you feel your best
Your PCP is the first person you should see for most medical problems. He or she can take care of you for your entire adult life, creating a wellness plan to keep you healthy and treating you if you get sick. Your PCP can also refer you to a specialist, if you need one. It all starts with an annual well-adult checkup.
“A yearly physical is important because it gives your physician or advanced practice clinician a chance to discuss anything in your medical history that may have developed in the past year,” says Oliana Ros, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician with Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Pocono. “Most of the time, people only visit my office when they’re sick. But there are lots of things we can do to prevent illness.” If blood tests show, for example, that your blood sugar is inching toward type 2 diabetes, your annual checkup could be a wakeup call to change your diet and start exercising regularly, Ros says.
More PCP perks
Seeing the same provider yearly fosters a strong, patient-centered relationship. Your PCP is more likely to know what’s normal for you and recognize changes that might indicate a health problem. That can help prevent frequent trips to the emergency room whenever something is wrong and you’re not sure where to turn.
“Having a primary care provider gives you access to the medical system. If you get sick, you know where to go for help,” Ros says.
In fact, people with a PCP are generally more satisfied with their health care and more likely to stick with their doctors’ recommendations. If they have a chronic disease, they’re less likely to experience serious complications too.
If you do have a PCP, when’s the last time you had a checkup? Adults of all ages should get one yearly. “Schedule your checkup around your birthday so you don’t forget it,” Ros says.
Book your checkup today. Call 888-402-LVHN (5846).