Primary Care and You!
Why should I have a primary care physician (PCP)?
Patients often go straight to a specialist when they are experiencing problems in one particular area. This way of thinking doesn’t always render the best results. Picture this: you have been experiencing occasional chest pain recently, so you make yourself an appointment with a cardiologist. After your exam and an array of tests, your cardiologist still can’t find the source of your pain. That's where your Primary Care Provider (PCP) comes into play.
As soon as your primary care doctor looks you over, they determine that your pain is coming from acid reflux. In this case, you needed to see a gastroenterologist instead. In the end, you would have saved an unnecessary trip — and expense — to the cardiologist, if you would’ve visited your primary care doctor in the first place.
Your primary care provider is responsible for keeping tabs on your overall health. He or she can even offer additional screenings, diagnostic tools, treatments, and disease management options. Even if you do need a specialist, your doctor’s office will coordinate everything for you and keep track of your records to ensure you receive thorough care.
What does my primary care providers do during exams?
The whole point of a routine exam is to find any hidden red flags that could turn into more serious health problems. Depending on your age, gender, health status, and how long it’s been since your last exam, you might need the following:
Can I have a primary care provider, if I am LGBT+?
Absolutely! And you should. The physicians and nurse practitioners at Crew Health we understand the health struggles of patients in the LGBT community. They’re here for you if you need:
How do I prepare for my first visit?
You have a little homework to do before coming in for your first appointment at Crew Health. This gives your new primary care provider more background information about your health. You should bring in a list of every medication you’re taking, even if it’s an over-the-counter supplement. For some, it’s helpful just to bring the bottles in.
If you know your family history, this will help the check-in process. If you aren’t sure of your background, do your best to find out if there are any chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, or cancer in your family. Bring any previous lab reports, medical evaluations, or imaging reports to your appointment.
Once you gather your background information, make sure you write down a list of any current problems or concerns. Do not try to memorize all of this information. Instead, write it down, and you will be fully prepared for your first appointment.
What is healthy lifestyle management?
During your physical exam, your practitioner will ask you questions about your lifestyle including your sexual habits, hobbies, and what you do for work. They need to know your eating habits as well. This information helps your dedicated physician find out if you’re at risk of developing any health problems or if you need any special screening during the exam.
Healthy lifestyle management includes you and your practitioner working together to:
Do I need a physical exam every year?
Yes! Your provider wants to know that you’re in good health, even if you feel just fine. Many chronic health issues develop over an extended period. So even though you might feel great now, something critical could be happening under the surface.
Unless you’re monitoring your health regularly, you are probably unaware of subtle, yet crucial, changes like a spike in blood pressure. This is where your primary care provider (PCP) comes into play. It’s his or her job to check on your health, run lab tests, and conduct any additional screening you may need.