You’ve scheduled the kids’ physicals, an appointment to pick up your new glasses, your annual dentist appointments…you’ve got your health covered, right? Not so fast. Unless you’re scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor, you could be missing out on a full picture of your health.
“A visit with your primary care doctor is just as important as the other appointments on your calendar. They’re able to provide you with a comprehensive overview of your health,” says Christine Stallkamp, MD, primary care physician at the Main Line Health Center in Broomall.
Of course, carving out time for your own health when you’re busy balancing so many other things can seem impossible. You exercise, eat relatively well, no mysterious symptoms to worry about…why spend the time to go to a doctor’s appointment you don’t really need?
The truth is that, whether you’re sick or not, you can probably benefit from some one-on-one time with your doctor, especially if you haven’t seen them for awhile. Before your visit, take stock of all of the health questions that have crossed your mind lately: Are your stress headaches normal? You’ve been sneezing a lot since you got a new dog. Could it be allergies?
“Annual appointments are a good chance for you to ask your doctor the questions that have crossed your mind, but that aren’t necessarily pressing health issues,” says Dr. Stallkamp.
Your visit is a good opportunity for your doctor to ask questions, too. They might recognize symptoms, warning signs, or other notable items in your personal or family health history they’ll want to talk to you about, including things you may not have thought of.
“Your primary care doctor is the first call you make when you just don’t feel right or you need a referral for a specialist or test, which is why it’s so important that they be kept up to date about your health,” says Dr. Stallkamp.
In addition, they’ll keep you up-to-date about your health. Your primary care doctor is your go-to expert in health maintenance and preventative care. With constantly changing guidelines, they can keep you informed of what tests you need and don’t need, as well as what requirements have changed since your last visit.
Start the new year off right by making an appointment with your primary care doctor. Visit our website for a list of Main Line Health practices and physicians in your area or call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) to make an appointment.