Four reasons to see your primary care physician

With the close of another year comes a desire by many to make improvements in their daily lives. As people begin to consider resolutions for the new year, personal health should be at the top of the list.

Annual visits to a primary care physician can be viewed as non-negotiable by some and completely unnecessary by others. While it is common knowledge one should make regular trips to the doctor, those who are young and in good health often think visiting the doctor is unnecessary unless you’re sick. On the other hand, adults and seniors who see several healthcare providers and specialists throughout the year may not recognize the need to schedule a routine check-up with their primary care physician.

The truth is a regular check-up with a healthcare provider that knows you can ensure often overlooked and easy-to-miss health changes do not go unnoticed. Here are four reasons to make an appointment with your primary care physician in 2017.

1. To receive better care coordination. If you don’t have a primary care physician, make it a priority to find one in 2017. Your primary care physician serves as your healthcare advocate and advisor, as they are the ones who get to know your personal health history and habits. It is the job of your primary care physician to gather information about your health and refer you to specialists and other providers when you need them. A primary care physician makes sure you receive the appropriate examinations and tests, and can help answer any questions you may have about your care.

2. To ensure you are taking proper preventive care measures. Most of your annual trips to the doctor are to track health changes and discuss wellness and prevention plans. Your primary care doctor can give you recommendations on ways to improve overall health based on your family history of disease and personal wellness habits. They can also provide regular health screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, diabetes and more. These health issues may not show symptoms in day-to-day life but can be identified during routine physicals. Identifying these potential health risks early may significantly improve treatability and recovery rates.

3. To save time and get help when you are sick. There are multiple options for seeking medical assistance when you are feeling under the weather, but if you have a relationship with a primary care physician, it is usually easier to get an appointment more quickly than if you are visiting a provider for the first time. Physician visits can be more cost effective than visits to urgent care or the emergency room.

4. To get reliable answers to your health questions. With the internet at our fingertips 24 hours a day, it can be easier to Google symptoms and self-diagnose than to visit a primary care physician, but this can result in unnecessary stress and incorrect diagnoses. Primary care physicians are there to answer your questions and provide referrals to specialists when you need them.

Scheduling a visit with your primary care physician can help you live a healthier, longer life. The start of a new year is the perfect time to make an appointment to work towards better health with your primary care physician in 2017.


Dr. Dennis Probst, is board certified in Family Practice and is accepting new patients at Haven Medical Center, 208 E. Church St. for an appointment call 570-748-0590.