Experts recommend that the average adult visits a primary care physician at least once a year. But too many of us ignore this advice with claims that life is just too busy and we don’t have the time. According to the CDC, only 84.9% of adults reported visiting a primary care provider or another medical professional in the past year. Few of us realize the implications of this neglect. Here are just a few reasons to add an annual doctor visit to your schedule.

1. Early Detection of Illness

Many of us subscribe to the blissfully ignorant idea that “nothing’s wrong” simply because we don’t notice any unusual symptoms. But many serious medical conditions have warning signs that, in the early stages, are undetectable to the average person. A primary care doctor, on the other hand, is trained to look for these red flags. Your physician can screen you for potential illness and disease. This could stop a medical condition in its tracks and could even save your life.

2. Disease Prevention

Just as doctors notice signs of disease before we do, they can also prevent the disease in the first place. And because your primary care physician knows your whole medical history, family background, and current lifestyle, they will know which diseases you are particularly susceptible to. This enables them to create a healthcare plan that can halt a disease from progressing or even beginning at all.

3. Greater Transparency

When you regularly visit your primary care doctor, you create a bond that goes unmatched in other areas of medicine. Your primary doctor knows not only your medical history but also your personal preferences and your comfort level with certain procedures and treatments. This creates a level of trust and understanding that cannot be replicated in other medical settings. It also allows your doctor to create a healthcare plan that feels safe and comfortable for you.

4. Quality Referrals

If you need a medical specialist to address a specific issue, for example, a cardiologist or a mental health therapist, your primary care doctor is the best reference point. Your primary care doctor has connections and information that the average person simply does not, and he/she can therefore refer you to a qualified practitioner. While you may think you can just Google your options, your primary care doctor is a far more reputable source of recommendations.

5. Health Maintenance

Staying healthy requires routine maintenance. Just like your car requires regular tune-ups, your body needs regular screenings and check-ups to ensure its functioning at its very best. Visiting your primary care doctor is the number one way to maintain a consistent and quality level of health.

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