It is a natural instinct to call on the help of your primary care doctor if you have the flu or other obvious ailments. The fact is that most people only think to call their doctor if something is bothering them. But knowing how often to see your doctor aside from these instances is important. Whether you’re young or old, sick or healthy, visiting your doctor on a regular basis can make all the difference to your overall wellness and quality of life.
How often should I see my primary care doctor?
The truth is, there is no definite answer to this question because everyone’s circumstances vary and the timetable for one person will likely be far different than for the next. Still, here are some factors to consider:
- Risk factors
- Family history
- Past health issues
- Current health status
Even with these considerations in mind, there is no hard and fast rule that will apply to everyone. It’s important though to understand the specific set of factors that influence your health and see your doctor accordingly.
Having yearly physical examinations allows you and your doctor to monitor your physical condition and hopefully preempt any health concerns that may be on the horizon. Your primary care doctor will pay particular attention to your heart and lungs to make sure that these vital organs are functioning exactly the way they should! These visits will also give you a chance to discuss any symptoms that have cropped up or lifestyle changes, such as smoking, that will have a direct impact on your general health.
But I’m healthy, why do I need to visit my primary care doctor at all?
It may seem counterintuitive, but even if you feel and appear to be the picture of health, it is still absolutely a smart decision to see your primary care physician on a regular basis. The goal is to catch health concerns early on and address them as soon as possible so that you have the best chance of living a long, happy, and healthy life. Your doctor wants to help you maintain your health and prevent harm, and you should want that too! Here are some reasons that even the most healthy people would be wise to visit their doctor periodically.
Prevent Health Concerns
As mentioned above, one of the best benefits of seeing your doctor regularly is to prevent any health concerns before they arise. By seeing your doctor often, they can monitor the development of any issues and note changes in your health that may indicate a concern that could be just around the corner. At these regular visits, your doctor may be able to identify subtle symptoms that could become severe before you know it. Many times we tend to ignore the minor, more subtle pains and discomforts, but your doctor can spot whether these are negligible or worth addressing.
Build Your Medical History
Visiting your doctor consistently ensures that you are looking out, not only for your current and future health but also the health of children and grandchildren down the line. By maintaining a clear medical record your doctors will have a better understanding of issues from your past that could be influencing your current health. Moreover, many disorders and diseases are hereditary, and knowing your medical history can forewarn your descendants about medical concerns that they may have to deal with. This will allow them the chance to seek preventative care or avoid certain lifestyle choices that could contribute negatively to their health.
What if I need care urgently?
There are many things that your primary care doctor can do for you, but there may be times when you need medical attention much more urgently. In this case, an urgent care clinic may be your best bet. For example, if you have a minor injury or non-life-threatening symptoms that still need to be addressed as soon as possible, a trip to urgent care may be preferable to waiting to visit your primary care doctor. That being said, urgent care visits can likely be avoided if you are regularly visiting your doctor before symptoms become acute.
What if I don’t have health insurance?
Sadly, there are many individuals in the United States who do not have access to or can not afford healthcare. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 8.3% of individuals over the age of eighteen were unable to procure needed medical care because of cost concerns. Even if you don’t have health insurance or adequate coverage, you should consider visiting a free clinic if there is one available to you in your area. Maintaining your health is something that many of us don’t have the luxury to do for ourselves, so if you are able to, why wouldn’t you visit your primary care doctor as often as possible?
Ultimately, it is clear that it is not only sick people who need to visit their primary care doctor. There are many benefits to keeping up a regular visit schedule to check in with your primary care doctor to make sure you are as healthy as can be. If you don’t already, this is something that you should make a priority. Your health matters, so give us a call today to set up an appointment!