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What Is Primary Care?

Jun 14, 2022
Staying healthy involves more than seeing a doctor when you are feeling unwell, it involves taking a proactive approach to healthcare through primary care. When people hear “primary care” they often think of well-visits or yearly exams.

Staying healthy involves more than seeing a doctor when you are feeling unwell, it involves taking a proactive approach to healthcare through primary care. When people hear “primary care” they often think of well-visits or yearly exams. However, many people do not know the extent of primary care. The primary care team assigned to your case takes the time to get to know you, understand your past and pertinent medical history, and help to provide a treatment plan for any health concerns.


What Does a Primary Care Provider Do?

The only way to maintain a healthy life is to implement a healthy diet, exercise, and regularly receive primary care. A primary care provider, or PCP, provides general healthcare and is often the first person people turn to for various health concerns. Many people visit their primary care provider for things including:

  • General wellness visits
  • Pediatric care
  • Nutrition or weight loss guidance
  • Treating acute illness
  • Immunizations
  • Treating chronic illness
  • Blood tests

People often use the same primary care provider for several years, as they can treat a multitude of health concerns and provide a referral to many specialists. Because people use the same provider for general medical care for several years, your doctor can become familiar with you and may be able to provide quick treatment for new illnesses.

Why See a Primary Care Provider?

A primary care provider can provide a wellness check for you as well as care for your children. A primary care provider provides medical care for the entire family, regardless of age. If you are experiencing new, unwanted, or uncomfortable symptoms, like fever, headache, or pain, it might be time to visit your primary care provider.

There are many things a PCP can help with, such as:

General Health Questions

A few important questions to ask your PCP during well-visits include:

  • Is my blood pressure within normal limits?
  • If my weight is at an unhealthy level, what can I do to change that?
  • Am I at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, or liver failure?
  • How does my family history of “X” disease impact my health?

Your primary care provider can also help with general questions to guide you towards a healthier lifestyle, including offering advice on diet and exercise.

Acute Illnesses

A new or acute illness may require a visit to your doctor for testing and treatment. Common concerns may include untreatable fever, cough, congestion, or other more serious symptoms. If you are experiencing negative symptoms that are not relieved by over-the-counter medications, it’s likely a trip to your primary care provider is in order.

Chronic Conditions

Have you been diagnosed with chronic, life-long conditions like diabetes, heart disease, liver or kidney disease, or experiencing difficulties with an existing condition? A primary care provider can provide medication adjustments, further testing, or a referral to a specialist if necessary.

Recent Injury

If you have recently experienced an injury whether it be from playing sports or a simple fall, a PCP can provide imaging tests to determine if you are suffering from a broken bone, torn ligament, or a simple sprain. He/she can prescribe medication as needed as well as provide tips to reduce pain and swelling as you heal.

Is Primary Care the Same as Internal Medicine?

Primary care and internal medicine are often confused as the two specialties treat similar medical conditions and can perform similar testing and treatment plans. There is one key difference between the two, however: the age of patients seen.

An internist, or internal medicine provider, only examines and treats adult patients over the age of 18, while a primary care provider sees patients of all ages, from birth on.

Find Your Primary Care Provider at Center of Advanced Wellness

Primary care is crucial in the healthcare system as PCPs can treat a variety of medical conditions or provide a referral for specialty care when needed. Those with families who are looking to find care for the entire family enlist the help of a PCP as it is easier to schedule wellness visits for everyone on the same day and same office.

If you have a concern regarding your health or the health of your children, reach out to your Center of Advanced Wellness primary care provider today.

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