Without primary colors (red, green, blue), the world would be a pale place. Likewise, no primary campaigns would make for an anemic democracy.
But no primary care doctor visits? That's a direct route to health problems you never saw coming.
A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that from 2008 to 2012, appointments with primary care doctors declined 24%, and the number of adults who don't see their primary even once a year went up 30%.
This may be happening because people go directly to specialists or use urgent care centers. Or maybe it's because of frustration with abbreviated appointment times.
But whatever the cause, the result is that you're not forging a relationship with a doctor who has knowledge of your health history and personal circumstances.
Regularly scheduled primary care appointments also let you track your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity – and intervene early to avoid the worst side effects of those conditions.
- Primary care visits also make you more likely to be sent for cancer screenings. If you keep up with them, you'll stay well much longer and feel younger. So:
- Have your records from every visit with a specialist or urgent care center sent to your primary care doctor.
- Use your primary care doctor's team (nurses, physician assistants, etc.) for support and information.
- If you don't have time to get all your questions answered in one visit, ask for an email or web portal where you can write in questions and get answers back.
If you do all that and still don't want to see your primary care doctor, you should find another.