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Why You Need a Primary Care Physician

Why You Need a Primary Care Physician

You’re healthy, active and you’re very, very busy. Do you really need a primary care physician? The short answer is, “Yes, you do.”

A primary care physician is a doctor who is going to be the organizer of your medical care who also focuses on keeping you healthy. A primary care physician, more commonly known as a PCP or family doctor, is a physician who is specifically trained in treating the entire person, physically, mentally and emotionally, explains the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) on its website. Unlike other doctors who specialize in treating one particular organ or disease, PCPs not only diagnose and treat acute and chronic illnesses, like the flu and high blood pressure, but they also provide routine health screenings and counseling on lifestyle changes in an effort to prevent diseases from developing in the first place. When you need a specialist, your primary care physician will make a recommendation and coordinate your care with your specialist. Dr. Natalie Zelta, an internist, and a member of the Torrance Memorial Physician Network says," one physician that sees you at least once a year is more likely to notice any changes in your health, and is likely to lead to better diagnoses."

The Perfect Choice

One of the greatest advantages of having a primary care physician is the bond you'll create over time. Research shows that people who have an ongoing relationship with a PCP have better overall health outcomes, lower death rates and lower total costs of health care.

What to Look for in a Primary Care Physician

The single most important thing you should look for in a primary care physician is someone who listens to you, makes you feel at ease and who is genuinely interested in your wellbeing. When you are sick or need immediate medical attention, you want to be comfortable seeing someone you know and trust and, even more importantly, someone who knows you and your medical history. This is a relationship based on trust – it's okay to be picky. Dr. Zelta says that in order to get the best care possible, "you have to be really comfortable with your doctor so that you can be completely honest about your health issues and your concerns."