Important questions to ask your PCP
A primary care provider (PCP) is essential to helping you remain healthy so you can live a long and active life. PCPs are often the first point of contact when you have health issues. They provide a range of key services including:
- Health and wellness exams
- Treatment of illness and sick visits
- Detection and medical management of chronic conditions
- Management of risk factors
- Preventive screenings
- Healthy lifestyle promotion
A PCP can coordinate and manage your care and serve as a trusted partner. An important component of primary care visits is engaging in dialogue and addressing key questions impacting your health.
What screening tests should I have?
Primary care doctors do not only treat illness, but help you live a healthier, more active life. The PCP’s goal is to reduce your chances of developing health issues. Screenings play an important role. Depending upon your family history and previous medical tests, your PCP may recommend tests that monitor your:
- Fasting blood sugar
- Liver function
- Blood pressure
- Kidney function
If you are at risk for a particular disease—especially if it runs in your family—your PCP can help you reduce the chances of developing a disease and can refer you to a specialist, if needed.
How often should I see my primary care provider?
This depends upon your overall health, medications, lab tests, and medical history. For example, if you are prediabetic, your PCP may suggest that you have your blood sugar tested more often. However, if your lab results look good, then an annual visit may be all you need. Also, PCPs are available to treat common illnesses throughout the year, which may include sinus infections, flu, digestive problems, and back pain. There is no one answer, and your PCP will work with you to determine how often you should schedule an appointment.
What are my blood sugar numbers?
Are you thirstier than usual? Do you find yourself going to the bathroom more frequently? These could be signs of diabetes. Millions of Americans have diabetes and don’t realize it. That’s why your fasting blood sugar is always a part of a general wellness exam. If these numbers are high, your PCP can provide dietary guidelines or prescribe medication that can help prevent prediabetes from developing into diabetes.
Am I at risk for heart disease?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. Often, those with heart disease don’t know they have it until they have a heart attack. That’s why it’s so important for us to assess your risk for heart disease—especially if it runs in your family.
We can evaluate risk factors, ensure you have necessary screenings, and refer you to a cardiologist if additional care is needed.
How can I improve my diet?
Your PCP can play a crucial role in improving your overall approach to nutrition. Your PCP can determine if you are at a healthy weight, are eating a well-balanced diet, and are getting the proper nutrients. If you are struggling to lose weight, a PCP can determine if there a medical condition preventing weight loss and can work with you to create a plan of action.
Diet is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and other illnesses. Diet-related illnesses account for 11 million deaths around the world annually. Your PCP can discuss how to ensure you have a healthy diet to minimize risk.