Adults with a primary care provider have nineteen percent lower odds of premature death than those who only see specialists when a need or issue arises. It’s important to find a primary care doctor because he or she can be a single source of reference, knowledge and expertise when it comes to you and your health.
What does a primary care doctor check for?
It’s recommended that you see a primary care doctor at least once a year for a wellness check-up. This doesn’t mean that anything is necessarily wrong with you—it’s just a time to review your health information, check a few vitals, discuss your diet and exercise routine, and answer any questions you may have about your health.
When you make an annual wellness visit with a primary care doctor, there are a few things you can expect at that appointment. No matter your age, your primary care doctor will check:
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Suspicious moles or skin lesions
- Heart and lungs
- Abdomen, thyroid glands and lymph nodes for abnormalities
- Any pre-existing chronic conditions
All of these screenings, even if they seem basic, are vital in detecting early symptoms of a disease or issue.
Your primary care doctor will also review your complete family medical history with you to see if there are any issues that could put you at risk for future disease or illness. Your family history is important because, oftentimes, families have many factors in common, such as their genes, environment and lifestyle. When all histories are summarized together, they could present clues for medical conditions that run in the family.
Common illnesses and diseases your doctor will want to keep an eye out for include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Certain cancers
- Heart disease
Annual Blood Panel
You can also request that your primary care doctor run an annual blood panel. These routine lab tests will include:
- Complete blood count – This measures several components and features of your blood, including red blood cells, which carry oxygen.
- Chemistry panel – This can either be a Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) which contains 8 tests and provides information about the health of your kidneys and respiratory system, as well as electrolytes and acid/base balance, or it can be a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), which includes 14 tests and provides all of the information covered in the BMP plus the health of your liver and important blood proteins.
- Urinalysis – This is used to detect and manage a wide range of disorders, from urinary tract infections to kidney disease and diabetes.
Make an Appointment with a Primary Care Doctor
At Community Access Network, we have a team of primary care doctors who are ready to help you understand your health better. To schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor, simply give us a call.