Most of us don’t like going to the doctor, actually most of us prefer to avoid going unless we absolutely have to. But going to the doctor shouldn’t be something you dread. Visiting your doctor should be looked as an investment. And here’s why:
Say, through an inheritance or a lucky stroke of some kind, you came into a fairly substantial amount of money. Not enough to change everything about your life today, but, if properly invested and carefully monitored, enough to make a big difference years from now when you’re older and thinking about traveling, or buying a home someplace nice, or even retiring. Would you be more likely to try to invest that money yourself, or would you do a little research, and then call upon an experienced investment counselor for some expert advice and guidance?
In many ways, this investment counselor model parallels a long-term relationship with a primary care physician. Your health is arguably your most precious possession. By including an experienced clinician in your health- and wellness-related activities, you can not only catch potential problems early, when they are almost always more likely to be responsive to treatment, but you can make small adjustments to your life’s trajectory, maximizing your strengths, and, ideally, minimizing your risks for future, potentially avoidable health issues. It’s an investment you can make for yourself, and for those you love, and for those who love you.
So no matter what your age or stage in life, routine physical exams, and informed discussions and health-related education by a trusted clinician can help you and your family maintain your best possible state of health for as long as you possibly can. A quick exam allows you and your physician to catch up on any vaccinations you may need, to check your vitals including weight, heart rate, blood pressure and to discuss any concerns you may have about your ongoing health.
The greatest benefits of a routine physical exam for both you and your physician is knowledge, of you, your health and your needs. Such benefits include:
Develop an ongoing relationship with your clinician
- Your primary care physician and their team are trained to detect and manage a broad range of medical conditions. If you make it a habit to see your physician on an annual basis this helps them to establish a baseline for your health, that then makes it easier for them to detect unhealthy trends before they become risk factors. Developing an ongoing relationship between you and your physician may also help you feel more comfortable when discussing other issues such as depression, anxiety, stress and other factors which are extremely important determinants of your health.
Health record management
- Just as you would want all of your children’s medical records to be managed by one central facility, it’s beneficial for you as well. Your primary care physician will have records of all the care you’ve received there and can easily provide them if you need them. Having your history accessible can also help them better understand your risk factors and give you reminders when you need any screenings or other immunizations that are pertinent to your health.
- The purpose of maintaining an ongoing relationship with your primary care physician is to receive care that is personalized to you. Your health, your conditions, your risk factors, your medications, your lifestyle, your goals are all important to you and your doctor. The better they get to know you and what matters or affects you the most, the better they can tailor your care to you. Your routine exam is a great time for you both to review your health and discuss any changes to your care that may need to be made.
Condition management and referral source
- Your primary care physician may be may be the perfect person for your long-term condition management or they may need to refer you to a specialist if the type of care you need goes beyond what they can provide. In which case they will likely know exactly who to connect you with based on your specific needs and will be able to provide your medical history and any information your specialist may need. Many times primary care physicians and specialists have a close relationship in managing the health of a patient to ensure the best possible outcomes.
By participating in routine physical exams, even if you are a seemingly healthy adult, you are also making an importance decision to take responsibility of your health and preventative care. Rather than treating a condition after it’s already progressed and presented symptoms, you and your physician can focus on preventing disease and maintaining proper health by incorporating a healthy lifestyle. Depending on your medical history, age and gender, your physician will listen and work with you to recommend preventative care steps you can take to maintain your overall health and reach any specific health related goals you may have.
You can schedule an appointment with the UT Health Austin Primary Care Clinic here, or if you’re on the go you can stop by the WorkLife Walk-In Clinic for a physical exam any week day between 8:00am – 5:00pm.