Did you know that a growing number of Americans are declining primary care? According to a recent survey, more than 100 million Americans are not seeing a primary care physician (PCP). Even more alarming is that roughly 25 million are children.
This means that these individuals are putting off preventative medicine. Instead, they are reactive and waiting to get sick. Ultimately, this leads to negative health outcomes and costlier bills.
Read on for a comprehensive guide to primary health care. Explore what health services are included in primary care and why family medicine is so important to overall health.
What Is Primary Health Care?
A PCP is a medical doctor that handles your overall health. PCPs are also synonymous with family medicine. Many families visit the same doctor together, whether they are an adult or a child.
PCPs see patients for common illnesses. If you have the flu or an infection, a PCP is your first line of defense.
After an evaluation, the PCP determines if they can treat you or if a specialist is necessary. In cases where a specialist is necessary, your PCP refers you to another doctor or practice.
PCPs also handle your preventative health care. They are responsible for following the recommended vaccination schedule.
In children, they check weight and height to make sure the child is growing properly. Vaccinations are administered at the PCP’s office.
Topics like behavioral health and even dental care are covered at your regular checkup. The point is to pre-emptively identify any issues and direct the family to a specialist that can treat it.
What Health Services Are Offered by Your Primary Care Physician?
PCPs are like a jack of all trades in the medical community. They are responsible for your overall health and have vast knowledge of the human body.
If you’re sick with bacterial or viral ailments, a PCP can help. They check your heart, lungs, ears, and throat to find the potential cause.
Your PCP is going to order blood work as part of your preventative care. Here, they check your glucose levels and to make sure your cholesterol is normal. If they find something abnormal, the doctor may prescribe prescription drugs or refer you to a specialist.
They also test for viral illnesses like influenza or Covid-19. To prevent these viruses from taking root, your PCP administers vaccinations and booster shots each year.
PCPs also help you manage chronic conditions. For instance, your family doctor helps you deal with diabetes on a daily basis or even achieve weight loss goals.
As a result of this focus on overall health, there is a direct link between PCPs and life expectancy. The supply of 10 new PCPs in the United States improves life expectancy by more than 51 days.
Your Guide to Primary Health Care
You now understand the importance of primary health care. Regularly seeing a PCP is proven to improve your life expectancy and help your overall health.
If you find yourself interested in seeing a primary care physician in Missouri, contact us today to schedule an appointment.