Primary care physicians (PCPs) are some of the most frequently visited doctors in the United States and the entire world. They are the first medical point of contact for individuals and families, whenever they face some health concerns, or simply want to obtain some medical advice.
However, with 28% of American men and 17% of women not having a designated primary care physician, not everybody knows what these practitioners actually do on a day-to-day basis and how useful they can be. The truth is that by having access to a primary care doctor, you can prevent many dangerous diseases from forming and nip certain long-term conditions in the bud, radically improving your quality of life. Keep reading to find out who primary care physicians are, what they do every single day, and how to find one easily.
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Primary Care Physician – Definition
A primary care physician is the very first doctor you should head to whenever you have any health-related questions or are starting to feel unwell. However, they do not deal with emergencies. If you broke a limb or are experiencing an immediate, life-threatening health issue, you should go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away. Most of the time, primary care professionals are doctors, but certain physician assistants and nurses can carry out that function, too.
How Does One Become a Primary Care Physician?
Becoming a primary care physician requires a lengthy and difficult education process. A candidate must first obtain an undergraduate degree from a field that’s related to medicine, such as chemistry or biology, also known as pre-medical courses.
Then, they need to be accepted into medical school, which lasts for another four years. This is where they gain in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and other areas of medicine that will fully prepare them for their careers. Finally, after completing their courses, candidates will have to undergo a residency program. This is usually done at a hospital, where residents work in an area they want to specialize in. Those wishing to become primary care physicians usually opt for family medicine, gynecology, or pediatrics.
Only after completing the residency program can an aspiring doctor begin working at a clinic or start their own practice.
How Can a Primary Care Physician Help You?
Primary care doctors help their patients in a wide variety of ways. Generally, the relationship between yourself and your primary care physician should be one of your closest patient-doctor relationships. The longer your PCP knows you, the better they can help you with any and all of your healthcare needs in a quick and efficient manner. It’s advisable to stick with a primary care physician for years, so that they can learn as much as they can about you and your outstanding health issues, allowing them to devise effective treatment plans without resorting to the trial-and-error method.
Below, you can find some of the ways your primary care physician can help you out.
General Health Advice
Everyday health concerns are the bread and butter of primary health physicians, also known as general practitioners. You can visit them whenever you have doubts about your health, want to obtain some advice with regard to living a healthier lifestyle, or have any other non-immediate queries with regard to your health. Your PCP is also the first person you should go to whenever you suspect that you’ve fallen ill – they’ll run some preliminary checks and direct you to a specialist, if needed.
Screening Test Suggestions
During your regular health checkups (most adults should have one at least once per year), your primary care physician might direct you to certain health screenings that they might consider useful when it comes to improving your overall physical state. Such screenings can also help detect serious, life-threatening conditions before they can pose a direct threat, allowing healthcare professionals to eradicate them on time.
Long-term Condition Management
If you’re struggling with a long-lasting health condition, your primary care doctor should become your most frequently contacted specialist. In cooperation with specialists, they can help devise the optimal treatment plans for the different stages of your condition, helping you lead a comfortable, pain-free life.
Match You With Specialists
Should you become diagnosed with a condition that requires the expertise of a doctor who specializes in a particular area of medicine, then your general practitioner is the person to turn to in order to link you up with a qualified professional.
Types of Primary Care Physicians
There are a few types of primary care physicians we can differentiate between. Most general practitioners are grouped based on the ages of the patients they treat.
A family primary care doctor will take care of the needs of your entire family, including children and seniors. They can treat patients of all ages, and as such, they are often assigned to entire families at a time.
These are general practitioners who specialize in treating children. Aside from their medical knowledge, they are also very skillful at approaching kids, who, as we all know, are very often scared of doctor visits and reluctant to cooperate.
Also referred to as internal medicine doctors, these professionals only treat adult patients.
These physicians specialize in geriatric care, meaning that they only treat seniors. They’re experts at managing disorders and long-term conditions that come as the result of old age, such as dementia, arthritis, hearing loss, and much more.
Find the Right Primary Care Doctor for You
Figuring out how to choose a primary care physician can be quite intimidating, especially if you’ve never done anything like that before. However, once you do some basic research, it becomes clear that it’s not something to be afraid of. The main factors to consider are the proximity of the doctor’s office to your place of residence, as well as recommendations from family, friends, and other medical professionals.
If you live in Orlando, we strongly encourage you to consider Chau Medical Group and our experienced doctors. Our clinic has state-of-the-art equipment capable of carrying out most of the basic health screenings, and our staff is full of professionals who’ll do anything in their power to resolve your health problems. Seeing as we’ve been active in the Orlando area for decades now, we also have an established network of contacts and are therefore able to put you in touch with the best specialists to treat specific conditions.