Primary care physicians (PCPs)can diagnose and treat a wide range of acute and chronic illnesses. These medical professionals are typically the first doctor a patient sees when they have a health concern. PCPs also provide preventive care, such as annual physicals and age- or gender-appropriate screenings. These doctors can also provide referrals to medical specialists, when needed.
In short, your primary care physician is your go-to person for all your health needs, especially routine checkups and testing. Let’s look at how this type of doctor and support team can help you detect illnesses.
Managing Your Risk Factors for Disease
When you see your PCP for your annual physical, he or she will review your risk factors to determine what tests you may need that can detect the earliest signs of illness or disease – or to monitor its treatment. Risk factors are things such as age, heredity, gender, medical history, and more. A risk factor can be anything that increases your risk of developing certain types of illnesses, including acute (sudden) and chronic (continuing) medical conditions.
Most adults begin cholesterol, blood glucose, and thyroid disease screening in their 20s, with their primary care physicians ordering the relevant laboratory studies.
By having your PCP regularly check you from head-to-toe, such as checking your temperature, height, weight, reflexes, hearing, vision, and more – it can make it easier to spot trends that may indicate problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and other health issues.
Your primary care physician will also discuss any health concerns you may have and monitor your long-term health by reviewing your current medications and medical interventions (such as physical therapy) to ensure these methods continue to be safe and effective for you.
Testing for Acute Illness
Your primary care physician can evaluate and test you for a wide range of sudden illnesses or injuries. With the results of your tests, your physician can provide the treatment or outline the next steps needed to help you feel like yourself again.
Examples of acute illnesses and injuries your PCP can help you with include:
- Strep throat
- Urinary tract infection
- Otitis media (middle ear infection)
- Sprains and strains
- Insect and animal bites
Screening for Chronic Disease
There are a number of chronic and debilitating diseases that can occur at any time in a patient’s life. This includes cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. With regular visits to your PCP, you will be more likely to catch these problems early on in their development – when treatment is more often successful.
Examples of some of the more common screenings include:
- Blood tests to measure PSA (prostate-specific antigen) as a screening for prostate cancer
- Orders for a colonoscopy, mammogram, or DEXA bone scan to screen for colon cancer, breast cancer, and osteoporosis, respectively
- Pap smear and clinical breast exam to screen for cervical cancer and breast cancer
Should you be diagnosed with a serious health condition that requires the help of a medical specialist, you can count on your PCP to provide a referral to the type of specialist you need. Your primary care physician will also help coordinate your care.
Primary Care Physicians in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
When you choose a primary care physician at Intercoastal Medical Group, you’re assured of competent, compassionate care tailored to your unique healthcare goals and needs. We have over 100 highly qualified doctors who deliver primary care and secondary specialty services, such as cardiology, endocrinology, and orthopedics.
To book an appointment, please contact the Intercoastal Medical Group location near you. Or submit our convenient appointment request form, and we will be in touch with you shortly.