Imagine being in unfamiliar territory without your GPS. Or phone. Would you know where to go? Would you know if you reached your destination?
Think of your primary care doctor as the beacon who guides you throughout the overwhelming array of unfamiliar health care information to be a reliable, dependable guide and resource for what you need to continue your journey of a healthier life.
Why do you need a primary care doctor? We’ve outlined the top ten reasons.
1. To Monitor Your Health
Your primary care doctor is about much more than being there for you when you are sick. He or she is there to make sure you remain healthy. This means regularly checking for serious, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
2. To Manage Chronic Illnesses
According to the Centers for Disease Control 6 in 10 Americans have a chronic illness, and 4 in 10 have two or more chronic illnesses. These are the leading causes of disability and death in the country and are the main reasons behind America’s $3.5 trillion annual health care costs.
Some of the most common chronic illnesses are diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and COPD. By working closely with a primary care physician, you can lead a healthier life and keep these illnesses under control.
3. To Establish a Medical Home
What does it mean to have a medical home? It means you have someone to turn to when you’re facing an acute illness. It means you have somewhere you can go whether you need a prescription refill or a physical.
Most importantly, having a medical home means that your physician will be able to follow your health throughout the years, searching for trends and any underlying problems. This helps ensure that your health care treatment plans are working and are on the right track.
4. To Provide Access to Specialists
Primary care doctors are able to provide easy access and referrals to a wide variety of specialists including neurologists, oncologists and others. They will also work with these specialists to ensure that they have all the medical information about you they need to help.
5. To Remain Healthier
Studies have shown that those who have primary care physicians are actually healthier than those who do not.
These adults were not only more likely to regularly take and refill their medications, but they were also significantly more likely to get regular cancer screenings such as mammograms.
6. Lower Health Care Costs
Did you know that seeing your primary care doctor on a regular basis can lower your health care costs? According to the Journal of Health Affairs, by having these regular screenings and open communication with your doctor, the overall cost of your health care goes down.
One reason is that you’re more likely to stop serious illnesses from developing, and regular screenings will help detect cancer when it’s at its earliest stages and easiest to treat.
7. To Have a Place for Your Entire Health History
Your primary care doctor will maintain an extensive record of your entire health history, including any previous screenings or laboratory testing that you’ve had. If you need to have a referral to a specialist, you can rest assured that your doctor has all the information needed in one location.
8. Fewer Hospital and ER Visits
Additional studies show that those who keep regular appointments with their primary care doctors are hospitalized less and have fewer visits to the ER than those who don’t have primary care physicians.
One reason is that many without a primary care doctor may wait too long to see a doctor when they first see symptoms emerging. Delays can often be serious when it comes to illnesses.
9. Improved Communication
Communication is at the heart of a good doctor/patient relationship. It’s important to make your needs known and for your doctor to explain your treatment plan in ways that are clear, concise and easy to follow.
It is much easier to have ongoing conversations and open communication with a doctor with whom you’re already established.
10. Regular Routine Screenings
Every year, your primary care physician will order blood work that will check your cholesterol, blood sugar, and other important aspects of your health such as thyroid, kidney and liver function.
When Should I See My Primary Care Physician?
When you should see your doctor will vary, depending upon your age and any health conditions you may have. At minimum, you should see your PCP once or twice a year for a physical and any health screenings you may need.
You should also see your doctor at the first signs or symptoms of an illness. Many people wait too long before they schedule an appointment with their doctor.
Whenever you have questions about a treatment or medical issue, you should contact your doctor, either by scheduling an appointment or asking them a question through our secure patient portal.
How to Find a Primary Care Doctor
Conway Medical Center has a staff of experienced, compassionate primary care doctors who are ready to help you live the healthiest life possible. Each one has extensive knowledge on multiple facets of health care. They also can provide easy access to an extensive array of specialists should you need one.
Conway Medical Center Offers the Best in Primary Care
We understand the importance of the relationship between you and your physician. This is a sacred trust. It is at the heart of all that we do.
We also make it simple to visit your primary care doctor through our convenient locations throughout the area. We have primary care practices in Aynor, Conway, Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach.
Scheduling an appointment is easy. Just call 843-347-8000.