Though many people managed through the worst of the COVID pandemic without access to their usual hairstylist or personal trainer, we all gained a deeper appreciation for those we rely on for our happiness, fitness, beauty, and health. And the most important person watching over your long-term health is your primary care doctor.
Though there may be some debate about the necessity of annual check-ups for healthy individuals, listening to your doctor’s advice is beneficial for more than one reason.
Establishing Health Baselines
Your doctor may advise you to stay on top of annual physicals, as these sessions allow you both to track (and potentially treat) a variety of conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure. A yearly physical may even help your doctor detect cancer earlier, when it may be easier to treat.
“When we meet for annual physicals, it creates a health baseline and strengthens the patient-physician relationship, which is important to maximize your wellness,” says Michael Fedewa, Jr., DO, a board-certified family physician at Duke Primary Care Holly Springs Family Medicine. “If we know you when you’re well, we’re going to be ready to provide the best care when you’re sick, and we may be able to prevent some illness altogether.”
Early detection circumvents a variety of future problems. “It’s never enjoyable to learn that your body isn’t functioning the way it should,” OnHealth experts acknowledge, “but blood tests . . . can save you from much more serious health complications down the road. Discovering what ails you early can also save you money in the long run.”
Convenient and convincing as the internet (or your neighbors and loved ones) may be, your doctor is truly the best source of trusted, up-to-date medical information.
“[E]ven the most ‘reliable’ sources can be confusing,” Minneapolis-based neurologist Dr. Frederick Strobl, told HuffPost. “They don’t have the background a medical professional has to evaluate other’s claims so if they don’t want to follow my advice, they should really seek a second opinion from another doctor, not a friend or neighbor.”
This expert knowledge is a product of the extensive educational requirements for doctors, which include:
- Bachelor’s or equivalent undergraduate degree in an accredited institution
- A four-year medical degree from a medical school
- Passing of medical board exams
- Residency with rotations in different medical specialties (e.g., emergency medicine and in-patient hospital care) for 3-4 years
- American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) certification
- A state license to practice in the area where they work, which in many states must be continually renewed
Your doctor’s cumulative expertise makes them the best source when it comes to your whole-body health.
An Expert Who Truly Cares
Once you find the right family doctor, you’ll have a health advocate for the long-haul. “Primary care . . . is really the patient’s medical home,” says Dr. Danielle Martin, the Chief Medical Executive and Executive Vice President at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto (WCH) and a prominent advocate for public health care. “The value . . . is that you accompany people through their journey in life through the high points and the low points and really try to be their anchor in the healthcare system.”
When you build a relationship with your doctor through regular visits, they become a caring person who knows your family history, is better equipped to connect you with their network of specialists, and can work with your individual needs to prevent, manage, and treat any chronic conditions. More than a check-the-box chore, they can be someone who fosters your health — hopefully through your long and healthy life.
United Physicians Group doctors are eager to be these trusted resources for you and your family. Connect with us online or call (833) 523-0906.