No one wants their body to break down because they haven’t taken care of it. Maintaining your body requires that you take preventive health care seriously and see a provider regularly. Your provider will check your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as evaluate your diet, weight, and fitness. Many health issues can be detected through regular checkups and by talking to your provider about any symptoms you’re having. This can lead to the diagnosis of disease that could be more serious if not discovered in the early stages.
What kind of provider do you need for preventive healthcare?
Choose a Family Provider
Primary care includes family medicine providers, pediatricians, internists, obstetricians/gynecologists, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. But your personal family provider is the best advocate for you and your family’s care, because family providers see people from birth through their senior years and develop a long-term relationship that spans those years. They keep track of your medical history and any treatment you or your family members have had. They are in the best position to watch over your health and to help you live a healthy life. According to MedlinePlus, “The primary care physician’s job is to provide preventive care and to teach healthy lifestyle choices, identify and treat common medical conditions, assess the urgency of your medical problems and make referrals to medical specialists when necessary.”
Just how beneficial can a primary care provider be? A study from the Milbank Quarterly, a peer-reviewed medical journal, confirmed that primary care helps prevent illness, disease and even death. The study examined urban (defined as a city with at least 50,000 residents) and non-urban areas and found that areas with more primary care providers had 2 percent lower mortality rates overall, 4 percent lower heart disease mortality, and 3 percent fewer deaths from cancer compared to areas with fewer primary care providers (Starfield, Shi, Macinko, 2005). The study also found that primary care brings quality healthcare to a broader range of people, and that even 80 percent of the impoverished U.S. population still had regular primary care. Thus, primary care is possibly the most accessible form of healthcare. Overall, the study found that when patients see a primary care provider, their quality of life increased: “Among those who reported better primary care, more than 5 percent fewer people reported poor health and 6 percent fewer reported depression than did people experiencing less adequate primary care.”
Common sense tells us that it’s much easier to maintain your health than it is to deal with a serious illness, condition or surgery that may have been prevented. Your family medicine provider is invested in seeing that you live the healthiest and longest life possible, and it’s important that you see him/her regularly. For more information on family providers, visit the Western Washington Medical Group family provider page.