Family physicians take additional courses after completing the traditional medical school curriculum, focusing on pediatric and geriatric care, how lifestyle factors influence health and maintenance of chronic conditions. Family physicians are generalists; their expertise is in providing health care to a person over the course of his or her entire life. Finding a family practice that you feel comfortable with is definitely a worthwhile investment in your lifelong health.
Find A Family Practice You Feel Comfortable With
Although having a good rapport with your physician is important in every field, it is especially important to find a family physician that you trust and who takes an interest in your overall health. The job of a family physician is to know and understand your complete medical history along with any chronic conditions you may have and risk factors associated with your lifestyle. You should feel comfortable being entirely honest with your physician, and should have a good working relationship that allows you to bring up issues that you may not feel are important; a minor symptom that seems unimportant to you may be very important to a physician that knows your entire medical history and what conditions you are susceptible to.
Family Physicians Specialize In Whole-Family Care
The wide age range that family physicians are trained to care for allows every member of your family to visit the same family practice. There are two big reasons why this improves the quality of your health care. First, family physicians are trained in lifestyle management, and can provide you strategies on lifestyle modifications such as changing your diet, reducing alcohol consumption or quitting smoking. When it comes to lifestyle factors, these are often shared among family members; after all, families eat out of the same refrigerator, don't they? Lifestyle intervention to reduce risk factors is much more effective if you can get all members of your family on board, and a good working relationship with a family physician who treats your entire family is an amazingly effective tool.
Second, a family physician will be aware of genetic risk factors that may make your children more susceptible to disease. High blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many cancers all have a strong genetic component. If, for example, you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a family physician can suggest changes that you and your children can make in your lifestyle that reduces their risk of developing diabetes later in their lives.
Overall, the main factor separating a family practice physician from a general practitioner without specialized training is the family physician's focus on providing health care at every stage of life. A family practice is not a doctor that you see only when you are experiencing a serious illness, but rather is an experienced professional who wants to get to know you, your lifestyle and your medical history in full in order to deliver the best quality of care possible and keep you safe and healthy throughout your whole life.