Reasons You Need a Primary Care Physician

June 26, 2015

So you wake up on a Friday morning with a fever.  What do you do?  Go back to bed, right?  Well you know your boss is going to demand a doctor’s note on Monday morning.  And you know Urgent Care is going to be really busy since you heard on the news last night that the flu is at epidemic proportions.  So what are you to do?  You don’t have a primary care doctor, after all. Who needs one of those?  They’re just going to tell you that you weigh too much, you eat too much salt, and you shouldn’t smoke.

So who needs a primary care doctor?   You do.  We all do.   And the reasons are many.  The first is obvious.  Everyone gets sick every now and then.  With the current economy and work place, illness is more than just an inconvenience.  It is a financial hardship and can cost workplace stress.   Having a doctor who you can see in those cases may not only help you feel better but may make it easier for you to get back to work sooner.

And yes, you do need someone to tell you when you are overweight and out of shape.  The truth is that small problems when you are younger can lead to disease when you are older.  For instance, when you were 21 you could smoke cigarettes and still climb a flight of stairs with any other 21 year old.  If you continue to smoke, then when you are 65 you may have to use an oxygen tank to climb a flight of stairs.  When you were 25, you could lift your kids above your head and run around the pool with them.  Now at 55, you’re lucky to lift your grandchild to chest level.  Aging alone leads to some changes, but healthy habits help us stay healthy.

One other reason to have a primary care doctor is to help make sure you keep up with screenings.  Primary care providers have been called the “gatekeepers” of medicine.  So it is part of a primary care doctor’s job to make sure you get to the appropriate doctor at the appropriate time.  Every age in life comes with a different set of physical challenges and problems.  Women begin to experience more instances of breast cancer when they get older. The primary care doctor is the one who reminds you to do your monthly breast exams and your yearly mammograms.  Colon cancer is more prevalent after the age of 50. The primary care doctor helps set you up with the GI doctor to do a screening colonoscopy after the age of 50.

Finally, having a primary care doctor may help eliminate some unneeded stress in your life.  How many times have you worried about a little mole that you have on your arm?  How many times have you worried about sleeping too many hours or not having enough energy?  Primary care doctors can help you address your small worries and help you find solutions to simple problems.  Do you have a primary care?  Perhaps it is time you get one.

Dr. Patricia Hinson practices as an internal medicine physician at Wilson Primary Care – Stantonsburg. The practice is located at 312 Main Street in Stantonsburg. She may be reached by calling 252-238-2757.