In recent years, modern medicine and technological advancements have significantly improved the quality of life. With better healthcare facilities now available to a broader demographic, the life expectancy years have also increased. But despite all this growth and progress, health concerns remain prevalent and are becoming more complex with time.
Primary care refers to any initial contact between you and your healthcare providers while connecting you to the medical system, allowing access to relevant information. It mainly focuses on providing services for wellness, treatment, and prevention of diseases a particular population or individual is more at risk of acquiring. Since primary care providers take on a holistic approach, unlike a specialist, they evaluate your overall health instead of focusing on a specific organ or illness. However, even though primary care plays a vital role in your well-being, it’s often overlooked and not given as much priority as it warrants.
Research shows primary care is crucial in ensuring each individual’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. To help you understand its significance, here are seven reasons why you must prioritize it.
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1. Early diagnosis
Primary healthcare professionals are in a critical position to diagnose medical conditions in their early stages. Encouraging regular screening programs and routine testing ensures patients receive the proper treatment at the right time. Chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer typically get diagnosed when it’s progressed significantly. Managing the disease at this stage becomes highly challenging, if not impossible. These are prevalent health concerns in the American population, but many people remain unaware of these conditions. However, primary care visits allow your physician to pick on any alarming signs or symptoms indicative of a much more severe problem.
Early diagnosis means you can explore the relevant treatment options much more quickly and improve your chances of a healthy recovery. If you let a disease manifest in time, it might grow unmanageable and affect various areas of your everyday life.
2. Know your risks
Some people are more prone or predisposed to acquiring certain medical conditions than others. You might be more susceptible to developing a particular disease, whether it’s due to genetics, lifestyle factors, environment, or simply body structure. Primary care can identify these risks early on and help you discover if you are susceptible to any illnesses. For example, a family history of diabetes or cardiovascular diseases can significantly increase your risk of developing these yourself. When you know you’re more likely to get them, your primary care worker can provide you with appropriate mitigation steps to reduce your chances. For instance, they’ll encourage you to engage in regular physical exercise or provide you with a nutritious diet to ensure your body stays healthy.
3. Better access to healthcare services
Primary care is your ticket to entering the healthcare system and gaining access to all the relevant information, services, and assistance it provides. Since it’s your first contact with the medical sector, it’s often all-encompassing and usually offers all essential facilities to the patient. When everyone has the right to benefit from these facilities, the healthcare burden significantly decreases. Therefore, simplifying the process and ensuring vital services remain accessible for all patients improves health systems’ performance.
Additionally, physicians or nurses who work at the primary care level have years of experience and knowledge under their belts. They’re in the prime position to diagnose and help any patient who visits them and provide them with the appropriate regimen.
4. Stay updated about recent medical advancements
Science and technology are making headways every other day. Thanks to modern medicine, diseases once incurable can now be treated with a pill or an injection. Until a few decades ago, if a patient got diagnosed with a rare disease, they’d lose hope and sometimes even give up treatment. However, today, even if you don’t receive positive news regarding a diagnosis, you can remain hopeful of finding one soon. Doctors constantly keep themselves updated with the latest trends and progress in medicine; therefore, they’re your best source to learn about any new trials or medicine developed.
5. Manage existing health concerns
Although you can’t cure chronic illnesses like diabetes, epilepsy, or asthma—you can still learn ways to manage them in the best way possible. The first step towards doing this is ensuring you regularly and effectively monitor their progress. But keeping a consistent track can sometimes become difficult, and this is where your primary care checkups come in. Since these are routine visits scheduled at regular intervals, they’re the best source for closely examining your body’s condition. Any variation from the norm can quickly get detected by your physician, who can then provide you with the appropriate therapeutics to recover again.
Without proper management or monitoring, an easily manageable condition can quickly worsen and become so severe that it grows into an uncontrollable illness.
6. Focus on disease prevention
A primary care provider isn’t just responsible for routine general medical checkups. Instead, they provide patients with critical interventions and recommendations that ensure their well-being and reduce their chances of getting ill. When you visit a doctor when you’re sick, they will offer you a treatment plan and prescribe the appropriate medication to get better. However, their key focus is on ensuring you don’t get sick in the first place. For this reason, primary care professionals encourage patients to get vaccinations against infectious diseases like measles, influenza, rubella, etc. Immunized communities reduce the risk of disease transmission, even among those people who can’t get vaccinated.
Other strategies like diet and exercise recommendations, routine screening and testing, and general medical procedures focus on preventing disease occurrence. Every primary care provider will ensure you receive these at your scheduled time and maintain your well-being.
7. Lowers medical costs
Receiving an early diagnosis for a chronic condition or knowing you’re at risk of acquiring one in the initial phases can significantly reduce your medical expenses. When you identify a disease before it progresses too far, you can treat it much more efficiently at lower costs.
Additionally, you reduce your chances of getting ill by undertaking certain mitigation steps like proper diet and routine vaccinations. All these factors decrease healthcare costs and help you avoid prolonged hospital visits as much as possible.
Regardless of age, status, or current health conditions, seeking primary care is essential for every individual. These visits give your physician the perfect opportunity to get to know you, giving them a better perspective to provide personalized care. And even if you don’t think it’s crucial now, schedule a visit and see how it benefits you in the coming years.