Adulting: Why and when is it time to get a primary care physician?

September 14, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

There’s no doubt web search engines and apps are helpful for finding answers to burning questions.

But when it comes to health or medical questions, the answers are rarely one-size-fits-all.

This is one reason why adults should have a primary care doctor they check in with at least once a year, a doctor who knows their personal medical history and physical make-up and can give them customized assessments.

And ladies, using your annual gynecologist visit as your primary care check-up isn’t what we mean. OB/GYNs specialize in women’s health, and while annual gynecologic check-ups are important, primary care physicians are trained to make a comprehensive health assessment.

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

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 make the appointment can be daunting (and, understandably, discourages a lot of people from getting checked out).

Fortunately, with today’s technology, it’s a lot easier to find a doctor close to home and schedule an appointment — and it can all be done on your phone.

A primary care doctor, like the physicians of Edward-Elmhurst Medical Group, is a vital component of your healthcare. Consider these reasons why you should have your own doctor:

  • Familiarity. Your primary care doctor is 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 than a stranger when you’re feeling ill.
  • Better communication. You’ll feel more comfortable talking about symptoms and concerns, and your primary care doctor will be better able to help you avoid medical pitfalls.
    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 can save you from expensive medical bills down the road.

Where do you start?

Finding a doctor you feel good about can take some time. Ask friends and family for recommendations. You can also search our Edward-Elmhurst Medical Group database, which includes hundreds of doctor profiles, ratings/ reviews, 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 have specific knowledge of the body at any age, from newborns to seniors. 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 geriatric care. Consider your health history, family history and known risk factors as you choose the internist who is right for you.

It's a great time to start taking better care of yourself and your family.

Dig into our database of Edward-Elmhurst Medical Group doctors. With hundreds of board-certified physicians to choose from across 50 Chicagoland locations, you’re likely to find the perfect doctor for you close by. Set up your first appointment today, with our fast and easy online scheduling.

Healthcare is even easier when you use the MyEEHealthTM mobile app. Download the app and keep track of your health from the comfort of anywhere, 24/7.

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