It's way too easy to put off going to the doctor until something is majorly wrong. In reality though, seeing a primary care physician once a year or so, even if you are healthy, is a very important part of preventative care. Your primary care physician is there to monitor your health over time and to notice if something is wrong, even if you don't have obvious symptoms yet. Here are five reasons to go to a doctor, such as one at a place like Rural Health Services Consortium Inc., regularly even though you're healthy:
Have Regular Tests Done
Most experts recommend that you begin having routine cholesterol and blood pressure tests by age 20. This will help you learn if your cholesterol or blood pressure are too high as early as possible so you can begin making the right lifestyle changes to improve your numbers before medication or other serious intervention is needed.
Even if you are young and healthy and it is unlikely that you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, it is a good idea to get these levels tested regularly so that you have healthy baseline numbers on record. If your health status changes in the future, having a basis of comparison is very helpful. Your primary care physician will also monitor your weight and lifestyle habits like smoking and alcohol intake, so that any issues can be caught early.
Form a Trusting Relationship with Your Physician
Seeing a doctor when you are healthy helps you establish a trusting relationship. If something serious happens that negatively affects your health, like an accident or major illness, it will be very helpful to already have a doctor you know, trust, and can call for an appointment. Without an existing relationship with a primary care physician it can be very difficult to get referrals to specialists, mental health professionals, surgeons, etc.
Know Your Risk Factors
Your primary care physician can also help you determine if you have higher than average risk factors for any serious health conditions, such as heart disease and some forms of cancer, based on hereditary factors as well as lifestyle. Knowing that you are at high risk means you can get tested more frequently and make lifestyle changes if needed. If certain forms of cancer run in your family, your primary care physician may refer you to a genetics counselor for genetics testing.
Protect Your Sexual and Reproductive Health
Seeing a primary care physician on a regular basis is also a critical part of protecting your sexual and reproductive health. From STD testing to pap smears that can detect cervical cancer to family planning, your primary care physician offers a variety of incredibly important reproductive health services.
Whether you are at a stage in life where you wish to prevent unwanted pregnancy or are hoping to start a family soon, your primary care physician will be on your side, provide prescriptions and testing as needed, and refer you to a trusted OB-GYN if appropriate.
Create a Comprehensive Medical Record
Regular preventative care doctor appointments also help create comprehensive medical records that can later be accessed by other medical professionals if you have an emergency or if you move to a new city. Emergency personnel will know if you have any pre-existing conditions, medication allergies, or other information that can help save your life if you're in an accident or experience a medical emergency.
If you move to a new city or begin seeing a specialist, you will be able to provide a detailed medical record to save time and ensure you get the best possible care.
By having a preventative care relationship with your primary care physician, you are being proactive in managing your health and staying healthy in the long-term.