The Importance of an Annual Physical

We take our kids for regular check-ups including dental and vision appointments. We even take our dogs to the vet and give them preventive medications to stay healthy. But, when was the last time YOU had a doctor’s appointment. Not because you had the flu or strep throat, but because it was time for your preventive appointment. Why does preventive care really matter?

Why care about preventive care?

How do you stop a problem before it starts? You prevent it from happening! Same goes for your health – prevention is key to being a smart patient. It's simple: when you get proper preventive care, you are taking steps that could save your life. It gives you a much greater chance of catching a disease or illness early, when most treatable – and sometimes you can stop it before it starts.

The easiest way to get into the habit of preventative care is to make an appointment with your primary care physician for a complete physical. This means you will be seeing your doctor when you are well, and when you both have sufficient time scheduled to discuss your current health and your medical history, and to conduct a complete physical exam. At the end of the appointment, the two of you can decide just how often you should make an appointment for a routine physical and screening examinations. Timing of well visits varies depending on your age, gender, and overall health.

Relationships are key… especially with your physician.

A Primary Care Physician, or PCP, may come from a Family Medicine group or Internal Medicine, but he or she specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing a wide variety of conditions. But the importance of a PCP extends beyond his or her ability to cover lots of different conditions. Establishing care with a PCP affords you consistency and efficiency on many levels:

  • Familiarity: Knowing who you are is one thing, but knowing the intricacies of your health and wellness is another. A primary care provider’s goal is to deliver the care that’s right for you – not employ a one-size-fits-all approach. Tailored health care is easier when you have a meaningful relationship with your provider.
  • Prevention and condition management: A PCP is responsible for screening all major health-related conditions. If you already have a chronic condition, your PCP helps manage it and improve your quality of life. A PCP can also screen for many things including obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. It is his or her job to look at immunization records and help with regular immunization refills.
  • Caring for you as a team: PCP are part of an expert team that can meet your exact needs. These teams are commonly comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and registered nurses. Contributing unique perspectives, the team approach provides you with well-rounded health care. Sources: mayoclinichealthsystem.org; webmd.com

 If you haven’t already, consider doing some research and picking a primary care provider who’s right for you. The continuity of care you’ll receive and familiarity you’ll experience will help you get the care that’s best for you. If you need help finding an in-network primary care provider, you can call the Diversified Service Department at 262.439.4800 for options in your area.

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