Don’t put your health on hold: The importance of routine primary care
Your primary care provider serves as your healthcare quarterback to prevent future disease
Sponsored content by Memorial Regional Health.
Putting your health first has never been more important.
While it’s important to always prioritize preventative care, the pandemic has enforced the value of regular check-ups. This past year, many individuals have delayed or put off their healthcare, which could put them at greater risk for illness or disease. Preventative care allows your primary care provider to detect disease and other medical problems before they become serious.
According to a study done by health insurance company Cigna, about 45 percent of Americans admitted to not knowing they should have an annual check-up, and half didn’t realize that with insurance, an annual check-up is free. In order to protect yourself from severe illnesses, you can’t let your health fall by the wayside and should have a go-to primary care provider as your healthcare quarterback.
“Having someone who can look at preventative care, coordinate needed care and has followed a patient for a while prevents long-term disease and the disastrous consequences of those diseases,” said Dr. Larry Kipe, family medicine physician at Memorial Regional Health.
Importance of a primary care provider
Primary care providers are on the frontlines of healthcare and are typically the first point of contact for a patient regarding their health. According to a comparative study in the National Library of Medicine, adults who have a provider have 19 percent lower odds of premature death than those who only see specialists for their care.
Providers can address a patient’s inherited risk from their individual gene pool to prevent future health problems. One health problem might indicate another or could lead a patient to others in the future. For example, a patient with hypertension may have high cholesterol that could create other issues and lead to a stroke or heart attack later in life.
Physicians can also help treat ongoing or chronic health problems, such as stomach pain or frequent headaches. These are the conditions that build over time and are not sudden, acute or emergent, which is when a patient should seek emergency room care or visit a Rapid Care provider.
“Rapid Care and emergency medicine are structured to treat a problem that has happened today,” Kipe explained. “They stomp out the fire burning today rather than manage the forest to prevent the fire of tomorrow.”
Preventative care tips
We all know we need to exercise, eat healthy and get enough sleep, but there are many other factors that contribute to optimal health. Tips offered by Memorial Regional Health providers for patients to maintain or improve their health include:
•Schedule your annual physical exam. During this exam, your provider will check your blood pressure, heart rate, BMI and other numbers to ensure your health hasn’t drastically changed in the past year. If something has changed, they can work with you to determine next steps right away.
•Check in with your mental health. Your mental health affects your physical health and vice versa. Neglecting your mental health can lead to physical issues such as heart disease, a weakened immune system, obesity, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
•Have necessary screening labs performed. Screening tests help detect potential health disorders or disease in people who don’t show symptoms, especially for those at risk. For example, a routine mammography or colonoscopy can catch life-threatening breast or colon cancers through regular screenings, allowing for earlier treatment.
•Get your immunizations. Many studies have proven that vaccines save lives and are safer than getting the diseases they are intended for. Ensure you and your children get your recommended vaccinations on time.
Find your healthcare quarterback at MRH
At MRH, scheduling a health check-up is as easy as calling our office and asking for a well-visit or a well-child visit. We offer telehealth and virtual visit options to add another factor of convenience and safety.
To schedule a primary care appointment, call 970-826-2400 for the MRH Medical Clinic or 970-824-3252 for the MRH Specialty Clinic.
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