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10 Reasons to Consult Primary Care Provider

Primary care providers have an important role in the broad scheme of healthcare. These professionals are the first check for most patients. General physicians are experienced in identifying and managing a wide range of problems and also have the expertise to recommend the patients to the right specialist. So, it is important to find a general physician who fits your personality, hours, location, and clinical interests. 

 

List of 10 Reasons for Consulting Primary Care Providers 

We have compiled a list of reasons that warrant a check-up from a primary care physician. Let’s get to it:

  1. Annual Health Check Up

Everyone should be the primary care provider at least once each year. It might seem futile but it is actually quite helpful and can prevent the patient from major life-threatening events. Physicians can run a series of physical checks and blood work to assess your general condition. 

 

It is especially important for Individuals that have genetic conditions, cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiac issues, etc., in their families. Physicians can identify these issues in the early stages and prevent the progression. It not only protects the patients from fatal ailments but also saves a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on advanced conditions.

 

Annual medical checks are very important for a male that are above 40 and women that have menopause. Post-menopausal women are at higher risk of osteoporosis which is a condition that affects bone health. Running a series of tests regularly can let the physician know if the patient is developing the condition and can stop the progression.

 

Furthermore, general physicians can also recommend combination vitamins and nutritional supplements to maintain general health. You can also be advised to take certain precautions to ensure the conditions do not take a turn for the worse. 

 

  1. Management of Chronic Diseases

Healthcare has come a long way but it is still not able to cure all diseases. There are certain conditions that one has to live with but most of them are manageable. Hypertension, Diabetes, Asthma, and Migraines are some of the most common conditions. These are also known as chronic conditions and require regular checkups.

 

Patients that are diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension are at higher risk of comorbidities. Physicians can run tests for cholesterol, EKGs, and Echo to assess the condition of the heart and prescribe medications to prevent cardiovascular events. Similarly, patients with diabetes would require examination of the eyes, feet, and peripheral nerves to prevent the progression of the disease. 

 

Furthermore, medications of such patients also require regular adjustment owing to lifestyle changes. So, these patients must visit primary care providers regularly to keep their conditions in check.

 

  1. Reconciliation of Multiple Treatments

When the patients have multiple ailments, they have to take several medications. This not only decreases compliance but also increases the risks of side effects. There are times when these medications can be optimized. Primary care physicians can remove medications that are not necessary to substitute them to decrease the side effects. 

 

They can also recommend combinations of drugs that the patients are taking separately. This increases the compliance of the patients and improves clinical outcomes. Furthermore, when the patient is being seen by multiple doctors, there are chances that they may prescribe medication with synergistic effects. 

 

Sometimes this effect is better but most often it increases the likelihood of adverse drug events. So, the dosage needs to be corrected by a competent professional who understands your medical history and the medications. General physicians are one of those professionals. 

 

  1. Reduces Emergency Visits

Road traffic accidents and cardiovascular events are the leading causes of emergency visits. You can decrease the likelihood of admission owing to cardiovascular events by visiting the primary physicians regularly. Cardiovascular events include stroke and myocardial infarction also known as a heart attack. Uncontrolled hypertension and clot formation are the most common cause of these events.

 

Patients who visit the primary physicians regularly have these conditions in check. Doctors put the patients on blood thinners and lipid-lowering agents to decrease the incidences of these events. Furthermore, the risk for these events can also be identified by running a series of tests. Hence, patients can get the treatment before the condition progresses which decreases emergency visits.  

 

  1. Continuity of Care

When patients undergo a major medical procedure like transplant, cardiac bypass, or chemotherapy, they need routine medical care. If it is not possible to visit a specialized facility, patients should regularly visit the primary care provider. Primary physicians are capable of managing the conditions once the procedure is done. They would adjust medication, and order blood work and radiological exams to understand your condition. 

 

Furthermore, primary care can also build connections with doctors at specialized facilities. It will help them take care of you better and reduce the visits to those facilities. 

 

  1. Allergies

Allergies have some types that have varying symptoms. Food allergy can manifest in the form of hives or diarrhoea. Environment allergies can produce symptoms like teary eyes and runny and clogged noses. Some of these conditions can be managed via over-the-counter medications but others require specialized care. 

 

Patients that have allergic asthma require steroids and other prescription medications for effective management. General physicians can prescribe those and adjust them when the season passes. For patients with other allergies, general physicians can recommend vaccines to manage the conditions. 

 

  1. Mental Health

General physicians are not substitutes for psychiatrists but they are capable enough to understand if the patient needs a psychiatrist. You can visit the primary physicians and let them know exactly how you are feeling. Given that most patients have a history with their primary doctors, they can also get advice from them on personal matters. 

 

Furthermore, mental health issues may be arising due to some other ailment in the body. Primary doctors can run some exams to rule out those causes. And if everything looks clean, they can recommend the patients to a competent physiatrist. Both physicians can work together to make the patient better and studies have shown that collaboration provides better outcomes.

 

  1. Wound Care

Wound be it accidental or surgical needs proper care or it can invite infections which can be dangerous. Amidst the rise of antimicrobial resistance, the attending physician might not recommend antibiotics because at the time the patient may not need them. However, it is possible that patients attract the infection afterward and that require antibiotics.

 

General physicians can help in these cases as well. They can take a look at the wound, change the dressing, and put the patient on antibiotics if there is a sign of infection. This prevents the progression of infections and the likelihood of life-threatening events like sepsis. 

 

Wound care is especially important in patients that have diabetes. These patients have impaired ability to cure the wound and need special care. In some cases where diabetes has progressed too much, diabetic patients are unaware that a wound even exists on their bodies. So, it is important to check the body for wounds and see the physician if it does not get better in two to three days.

 

  1. Infections

Most infections that patients experience are viral and go on their own after a week or two. It includes flu, common cold, viral pharyngitis, and tonsillitis. Patients experience severe symptoms for three to four days but it starts to get better once the body starts fighting it. These conditions do not require antibiotics and in most cases do not require a visit to the GP as well.

 

However, if the condition does not get better in a week and starts getting more severe, bacterial infections become more probable. In these cases, patients have to visit a general physician to get a prescription for antibiotics. 

 

Other infections like dermatitis, acne, cellulitis, folliculitis, and impetigo can also be treated by primary care providers.

 

  1. Joint Pain

Joint pain can make life very difficult as it restricts the movement of the patient. Most patients work around it by taking over-the-counter medications to decrease the pain but it is not the right approach. It is important to diagnose the condition that is causing the joint pain. You can either have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disease, osteoporosis, and joint degenerative disease among other conditions. Each of these conditions requires a thorough check-up and specialized medications.

 

Patients that use painkillers instead of visiting a general physician can expose themselves to a lot of side effects. Pain meds are NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which can produce ulcers, kidney dysfunction, and even cardiovascular issues in some cases. 

 

Furthermore, most of the aforementioned conditions are easy to manage and do not progress to life-threatening events. However, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and connective tissue disease are among the serious ones. These ailments require regular treatment to stop the progression. Rheumatologists are the specialist to manage these conditions but general physicians can also treat them if patients do not have access to recommended specialty.