Often times, especially when we are young, it is easy to postpone a routine checkup with your primary care provider (PCP). But just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you should avoid a quick stop with your PCP. Following a routine that best suits your health care needs is essential for good health.
“Regular checkups help keep recommended screening tests up to date and help identify problems as early as possible,” he said. Mark Meeker, DO, Internal Medicine Physician and Vice President of Community Medicine for OSF HealthCare. “The more you regularly communicate with your PCP and let him or her know how you feel and how you care for your body, the more likely you are to identify it and help you avoid health problems.”
What is a routine checkup?
For the sake of brevity, the common term has been “annual review”. However, Dr. Meeker says that term is a bit misleading.
“The time between checkups can vary based on age, gender, risk factors for health problems, etc.,” Dr. Meeker said. “A conversation with your PCP about the frequency of checkups is best to tailor it to your individual needs.”
For example, High blood pressure It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because most of the time, there are no symptoms. The first sign of high blood pressure can be a disaster like a heart attack, race or even sudden death. Blood pressure checks are routine at check-ups and give your PCP a history of your normal blood pressure ranges. Routine checkups help identify and stop problems before they develop.
If you have a chronic illness, you may need additional check-ups.
“You cannot manage a chronic condition well without proper monitoring with your care team. It may not always be with your doctor. Sometimes it can be another member of the team, ”he said.
What can you expect
A routine appointment is a perfect time to interact with your PCP, providing information about your needs, both now and in the future. The appointment usually takes between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on your situation and the complexity of your needs.
“It’s important to take this time to have a good dialogue about your health, answer your questions, and review any screenings or tests that need to be done,” said Dr. Meeker said. “If you have chronic health problems, there should also be a review of those and a thorough review of the treatment regimen, including medications.”
Dr. Meeker suggests that you write down any questions you have so that you don’t forget to ask your PCP.
Whether you need lab or blood tests depends on many factors, including age, gender, medical history, and risk factors.
The modern twist
Due to advances in telemedicine, you have more options for managing your health.
“You don’t need to go to the office. Video visits work well for some checkups, ”said Dr. Meeker said. “Those that require a physical exam, however, must be done face to face.”
The important thing is to make an appointment. And don’t count urgent care visits as a routine checkup.
“Urgent care clinics are designed to take care of the urgent problem. They want to take care of their immediate problem and have it in and out as quickly as is reasonable, ”said Dr. Meeker said. “They are not designed for regular checkups and evaluations.”
Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own health. Following a PCP check routine It helps to identify any problems and avoid unnecessary health problems.