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The importance of primary care

With the start of a new year and the promise of warmer weather heading our way, you might have decided to start exercising more and eat healthier. Although you feel great now, it’s important to partner with a primary care (family or internal medicine) doctor to keep you healthy and strong. Health maintenance includes annual check-ups, screenings, vaccinations, and counseling to prevent disease and improve your overall health.

If you establish with primary care provider when you are well, your doctor has baseline to compare your health to when something is wrong. Working with primary care doctor can keep you on track and on the lookout for signs of future health issues.

“Throughout my career as a physician, I’ve seen many patients who have health problems that can be avoided with a little bit of preventive self-care and maintenance. Giving attention to your health, even when you feel fine, can make staying healthy easier in the long term,” says Raju Shanmugam, MD, family medicine doctor at Mercyhealth Perryville.

Your primary care doctor is your partner in wellness who you can trust to provide preventive care and screenings such as:

  • Vaccinations
  • Skin/mole exams
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol screenings
  • Diabetes screenings
  • Kidney and liver function tests

An annual physical also allows you and your doctor time to discuss family history, monitor any changes in your health, and consider what screenings and immunization might be right for you. The partnership between you and your doctor will reduce your fear and help you feel comfortable and confident in their expertise when you face a difficult health issue.