If you have a medical need — sudden flu symptoms, nagging back pain, an unexpected rash — who is your first point of contact? A family physician can be the right answer for most healthcare situations.
What is a Family Doctor?
A family doctor is also called general practitioner (GP). Family doctors are usually the first doctors to diagnose and treat most medical problems. If you need to see a specialist doctor, usually, you need a family doctor to refer you. Family doctors also order laboratory and other tests.
They know your Personal & Family History!
When doctors treat you for years, they get to know your medical history inside and out. That helps them make accurate diagnoses, watch for red flags regarding medications and monitor changes in your health through the years.
But the “family” in family doctor matters, too. Seeing multiple generations of a family can help a doctor record an accurate, in-depth family health history. For example, if I know you had cancer at a young age, and so did your mother, that’s a red flag. I will recommend genetic counseling and offer a screening plan not only for you but also for other family members at risk.
Medical history is just part of the picture. Sometimes it helps to know what’s happening at home, too. When treating a child whose parent just lost a job, for instance, that information comes into play when assessing stress and anxiety.
When doctors treat you for years, they get to know your medical history inside and out.
Family doctors treat more than you think.
Yes, family doctors do your yearly check-up. But they also can help you manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. They can treat acute situations such as sinus infections and injuries. They can help you throughout a pregnancy.
They also can perform minor surgical procedures, such as freezing a wart or draining an abscess. These are but a few examples, and the list goes on.
Family doctors follow your life cycle.
They treat toddlers. They care for teens and people in their 20s. They treat middle-aged adults, retirees and people well into their 90s. They often see these same patients for years or even decades. That’s typical of family practitioners. Because family doctors treat a wide range of conditions, they can be your primary care physicians at any point in your life.
In the long term, that means you can build a lasting relationship with a family physician. And building such a relationship means…
Register for a Family Doctor Today!
Whether a patient is young or old, a family doctor’s best tool is preventative medicine, which is rarely discussed during visits to the emergency room or walk-in clinics. This is because although preventative health recommendations are of vital importance, they are hardly the most pressing or urgent of concerns when a patient seeks medical help from an emergency care provider. Family doctors are the primary resource for preventative health care and can help prevent problems before they occur. Your family doctor can be a trusted health adviser who plays an important role in your physical, emotional, and mental health, so it's important that everyone finds a family doctor that they feel comfortable working with and can rely on for care in the long-term.