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Reasons Why You Need to See a Primary Care Doctor

Let’s be honest. When was the last time you went to see a primary care doctor for a routine health checkup? If you can’t remember, we may have the problem.

While there are some people who regularly get routine checkups, there’s even more who don’t. If you’re in the second group, you might procrastinate in making appointments and wait until something is REALLY wrong before seeing a doctor.

We get it. We do. Nobody wants to hear bad news from their doctor. However, you may find that there are even bigger consequences when you skip the doctor all together. 

What Does a Primary Care Doctor Do?

Primary care is one of those medical phrases that might seem very vague, so let’s break it down. A primary care doctor (or primary care physician, PCP) is somebody who helps you manage your health. They provide preventative care, like routine physicals, screenings and immunizations. 

They also diagnose and manage many common chronic conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes and hypertension. A primary care doctor is also your go-to resource for everyday injuries, illnesses, or other changes in your overall health. 

Primary care doctors, as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners, are unique in the fact that they’re trained in a broad range of health conditions. Primary care doctors are your first line of defense with regard to overall health, and if you end up needing a specialist, they can help you find one. 

How Often Do I Need to See a Primary Care Doctor?

How often you need to see a primary care doctor depends on a few factors. Here are some basic guidelines as recommended by Mount Sinai Medical Center:

  • 30 or younger and healthy: Visit your doctor every two to three years for a checkup. Those assigned female at birth should discuss the benefits of regular cervical cancer screenings.
  • Ages 30-40: Make sure you schedule an annual physical exam. Common diseases, like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, often do not have symptoms and can sometimes be detected early by a primary care doctor. At age 40, those assigned female at birth should begin discussing the benefits of regular breast cancer screening with a doctor.
  • Ages 50+: Annual physicals become much more important. Everyone should have colonoscopies performed to screen for colon cancer. Those assigned female at birth who are 50 and over should discuss the benefits of regular mammograms with a doctor. People 65 and older are at higher risk for illness and hospitalization from flu and pneumonia. They should discuss the benefits of receiving pneumococcal vaccines and regular influenza vaccines with a doctor.

For those who may be concerned about weight-related or known genetic risks, your doctor may recommend more frequent checkups. The benefit of consistent checkups is that, over time, your primary care doctor can get to know your personal health situation better than anyone else.

METRO’s Approach

We believe in a holistic, inclusive and community-based approach to your health. METRO offers over 100 health, wellness and pharmacy services in a state-of-the-art setting for the most centralized approach to your health. While we are known for inclusive, LGBTQ+ affirming care and comprehensive HIV services, our doors are open to all of our Tampa Bay community.

With locations in St. Pete, Tampa, Clearwater, New Port Richey and Palmetto, METRO offers personalized care in a welcoming environment where your concerns are heard, and your healthcare needs are fully addressed.

METRO also offers the convenient benefit of visiting your local provider from virtually anywhere, or in person. Use our app and patient portal to connect directly to our healthcare providers, request refills, manage appointments, review records and more. Plus, the doctors you meet during your TeleHealth appointments are the same ones you can see at your nearest METRO location! On-site labs allow for an even more streamlined experience.

At the core of our mission, Metro Inclusive Health believes in eliminating the barriers to quality healthcare for our Tampa Bay community. That’s why we offer our services to patients regardless of insurance or financial status through a sliding-fee scale program. To learn about how to determine your eligibility for this program, you will need to bring proof of income to your first appointment, and annually thereafter.