Yes, adults, you should have a primary care physician

January 15, 2018 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Can you remember the last time you had a complete physical?

It’s probably time for a check-up.

Regular physicals aren’t just for kids. As you grow older, your body changes and faces new challenges. It’s important to stay on top of your health and any issues that can pop up as you age.

The thought of finding a doctor, penciling in time for an appointment and then finding time to actually call and make the appointment can be daunting (and, understandably, discourages a lot of people from getting checked out).

It shouldn’t be that hard. Fortunately, with today’s technology, it’s a lot easier to find a doctor close to home and schedule an appointment -- all on your phone.

True, it’s easy to walk into an Immediate Care Center or Walk-In Clinic when you’re ill or injured. Sometimes (such as during holidays or when you need care on short notice) it’s the best option.

But a primary care doctor is a vital component of your healthcare. Consider these reasons why you should have your own doctor:

  • Familiarity. Your primary care doctor can be a familiar home base who is aware of your health history and can monitor your health changes over time. 
  • Catch health concerns early. Because your doctor would see you over time, he or she can better help you manage chronic disease, find the best specialists, and, with regular check-ups and screenings, catch health issues early.
  • Comfort. It’s easier to see a doctor who’s familiar with you and your preferences than a stranger when you’re feeling ill.
  • Better communication. You’ll feel more comfortable opening up about symptoms and concerns, and your primary care doctor will be better able to help you avoid medical pitfalls.

Save your health – and money. Seeing a doctor on a regular basis helps you avoid catastrophic health events that could land you in the hospital or even surgery. Not only do regular visits keep you healthier, they could save you from expensive medical bills down the road.Finding a doctor you feel good about can take some time. Ask friends and family for recommendations. You can also search our Find-A-Doctor database, which includes hundreds of doctors as well as information and even videos of the doctors that can help you decide.

There are two types of primary care physicians to consider:

  • Family medicine. When you need to arrange care for you and your family, a family medicine physician can be both the most convenient and most effective choice. Family medicine doctors are board-certified and have specific knowledge of the body at any age, from newborns to the elderly. 
    Family medicine doctors can also treat a wide variety of conditions, including ailments for which you would normally see a specialist. As you browse family medicine doctors, consider each doctor’s areas of focus to make the best match for your whole family.
  • Internal medicine. When you need a primary care physician for yourself, you can choose a family medicine doctor or an internal medicine physician. While family medicine doctors can treat patients of any age or life stage, internal medicine doctors specialize in the care of adults and teens, typically 16 years and older. 
    Some internists specialize in certain diseases, parts of the body or life stage, like diabetes management, sports medicine, and elderly care. Consider your health history, family history and known risk factors as you choose the internal medicine practitioner who is right for you.

Do something good for yourself this year. January is a great time to start taking better care of yourself!

Dig into our database of Healthy Driven doctors and find one close to your home. If you’d like to schedule a check-up sooner rather than later, try searching our Find-A-Doctor tool by first available appointment.

We have hundreds of board-certified physicians to choose from. You can book online today to set up your first appointment.

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