Most people view going to the doctor as a hassle. Work is crazy enough, and the last thing you want to do is give up the little free time you have to go to a doctor’s office. Here’s the thing: if you wait until you’re already sick for that doctor visit, you may end up spending more time and money on healthcare than you could have if you’d kept things in check. (Kinda like what would happen if you never got the oil checked in your car.)
We look at a few reasons why you should see your primary care doc, even if you’re not sick.
Another great reason to get in touch with your doctor is to make sure there aren’t any hazardous medical conditions looming and unchecked. It’s especially important to check in with your doctor if your family has a history of high cholesterol, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, or other chronic and serious conditions. This is preventative care at its best — making sure you have no risk factors or family history that could put you at greater risk for health issues. Your primary care doctor will also make sure you’re keeping up with vaccines and routine screenings such as mammograms or colorectal cancer screenings. Health prevention is critical for long-term health and well-being.
Another great reason to get in touch with your doctor is to make sure there aren’t any hazardous health risks looming unchecked. It’s especially important to check in with your doctor if your family has a history of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or other chronic and serious conditions. Family history could put you at risk, too, and you don’t want to wait to find out. Visiting with your doctor can identify any risks and also help you put together a plan to lower your risk and determine any additional tests you may need.
The body is a complex machine that consists of many interconnected systems that keep it running. Just like an engine (here’s the car analogy again), the body needs to be checked from time to time to make sure all systems are running as expected. Things like weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other vitals and markers should be tracked and monitored over time. Often this includes a simple blood test to help signal if something is wrong or out of balance. And if something isn’t right, best that it’s caught early.
In addition to keeping your physical body in check, it’s important to keep tabs on your mental state, too. You may be at risk for depression and may not even know it. It’s not something to be ashamed of, nearly one of every ten adults suffers from depression or an anxiety disorder. These health conditions can be difficult to diagnose on our own, yet routine screenings with your PCP can detect any warning signs to keep your mental health in check before more serious problems arise.
Let’s do a price comparison. According to Debt.org, a financial consulting organization serving the public, the average urgent care visit costs between $150 and $200. ER visits can cost between $600 for a minor problem to well over $3,000 for a serious health issue or injury. On the other hand, typical co-pays for a visit to a primary care physician range from $15 to $25. Getting regular checkups isn‘t just a health decision, it‘s also an economic one. Primary care doctor visits are the lowest cost point of care. Most health insurance plans offer lower co-pays for primary care visits. The cost changes dramatically with emergency room or urgent care center visits and that’s bad for the pocketbook.
Everyone has likely played the (not-so-fun) game of “Google my symptoms.” With the internet and sites like WebMD, it’s easy and tempting to consider yourself a professional and to self-diagnose what could be wrong. But, you’re just not qualified. Self-diagnosing based on internet articles alone is not only a bad idea, it can also lead to unnecessary worry and fear.
Opt to visit your trusted primary care doctor instead. She will understand your unique medical history and be able to provide a personalized evaluation that exceeds the limitations of your WebMD diagnosis. Schedule an appointment with your doctor so she can paint the full health picture for you — and provide any necessary treatment to keep you in your best health.
Decent health plans are centered around free primary care with a direct primary care doctor. It means nothing will get in the way between you and your doctor. Don't know much about direct primary care? Learn more here.