If you have, unfortunately, developed one or more chronic illnesses that required your primary care physician to refer you to specialists that could better help you with the specific illnesses you are suffering from, then you may feel like you spend a lot of time in healthcare facilities. Living with chronic illnesses can be tough both physically and psychologically. However, make sure you still find the time to visit your primary care physician, someone from a place like Rural Health Services Consortium Inc., on a regular basis, even though you may have specialists helping you manage your chronic illnesses. Why? Read on to learn why it is so important to keep your PCP "in the loop" about your health and in your life.
1. Your Primary Care Physician Will Help You Ward Off Future Illnesses
Realize that even though you suffer from one or two chronic illnesses that make life more difficult for you, there are other diseases and illnesses you, thankfully, don't currently have. Visiting your primary care physician for regular wellness exams is an important part of keeping future illness away. While you may notice the specific tasks your doctor performs during your exam, you may not realize just how much information about your health your primary care physician collects during that short period of time.
For example, when your primary care physician places their stethoscope on your chest, you may suspect they are simply checking your heart rate. While that is one vital sign they check with the stethoscope, they are also listening for any strange sounds coming from your heart that can signal you are developing heart disease and listening to your lungs in action to make sure they are healthy.
Also, when you are answering your doctor's questions about how you have been feeling lately, it is not only your words they are analyzing; they are looking closely at your appearance to find signs of illness, such as skin discoloration, and comparing your speech patterns and overall mood to your last visit to detect cognitive or mental illness.
While your specialist is keeping an eye on the progression of your chronic illness and helping you keep it under control, they are likely not closely watching for signs of new disease unrelated you current one.
2. Your History With Your Primary Care Physician Helps Them Help You
If you were visiting your primary care physician for many years before you developed a disease that warranted the need to see a specialist, then realize that the history you have with your primary care physician makes them more valuable to your health than ever.
A survey of doctors revealed that 76 percent of them felt that one of the most important ways any patient can improve the quality of their health care is to develop a long-term relationship with their physician. Don't worry that you are doomed if your most recent primary care physician retired or you have just never visited the same one long enough to develop a long-term relationship; simply begin seeing a new one now, make sure they obtain all of your medical records, and vow to stick with them as long as possible.
The reason that long-term relationships with physicians are so important is that every person truly is very unique. While doctors learn the "typical" signs of illness and disease in medical school, they learn to recognize the signs of illness that are unique to you the longer they work with you and really get to know you.
3. Your Primary Care Physician Can Put "The Pieces Of The Puzzle" Together
If you began visiting more than one specialist and then stopped visiting your primary care provider, then you may be missing out on valuable insight into relations between your chronic conditions that your specialists may be missing. Any time you visit a specialist, you should authorize him or her to release all of your health documentation to your primary care provider. When your primary doctor notices correlations between the symptoms you have that the specialists are each reporting and a specific illness neither specialist may currently suspect, they can help you treat it before it begins a bigger problem.
Whether you visit one specialist or several, it is still very important to visit a primary care physician regularly. While all physicians serve vital roles in managing your health, your primary care provider will continuously monitor you for new health problems and keep an eye on your overall health while your specialists helps you battle the conditions or diseases you already have.