You know that some people have checkups with their primary care physician (PCP) annually, others semiannually, and still others every three or four months. So, you might be wondering how often you should actually schedule an appointment and visit your PCP.
The answer to that depends on several factors, including your age, any risk factors you may have for chronic illness, and your current health status. If you are in good overall health and are under the age of 50, you should see your PCP at least every two to three years for a checkup. If you are 50 or over, you should see your primary care physician at least once a year. If you have several underlying health issues, the doctor may ask for more frequent visits.
Although every patient is different, let’s talk about some basic guidelines to consider regarding how frequently to see your primary care physician – and where you can go in North Bethesda if you’re looking for personalized concierge medicine.
Preventive Care Screenings
Depending on your risk factors and weight, your PCP may order certain preventive care screening tests. If you are a woman and you do not have an OB/GYN, your primary care doctor may perform a Pap smear and a breast exam. Your physician may also give you a prescription for an annual or every-other-year mammogram starting at a certain age. The doctor will consider your risk factors based on your own personal medical history and whether you have any family members (i.e., parent, sibling, child) who have had certain cancers.
Similarly, if you are a man your blood may be checked for its PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels beginning at a certain age. If you have any close relatives who have had prostate cancer, the doctor may recommend having your PSA checked at an earlier age than your friends who do not have prostate cancer in their family. If you are a man who is 50 years old or older, the doctor may perform a manual DRE (digital rectal exam) to check for lumps or anything unusual in your prostate, regardless of your risk factors.
For both men and women, the doctor will check your blood sample for any signs of health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, or anemia. Your PCP may also check your urine for blood or signs of kidney disease.
Your doctor will also check your blood pressure numbers for any indication of hypertension (high blood pressure). If your numbers are high, the physician may ask you to check your pressure at home before deciding whether or not to recommend lifestyle interventions or medication.During general checkups, your PCP will compare your height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, and pulse rate to those from previous visits. The doctor will probably listen to your heart and lungs to detect any abnormalities. This is also an opportunity for you and your doctor to discuss any new symptoms or medical issues you may be having.
Referrals to See Medical Sub-Specialists
If you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may refer you to a medical sub-specialist – such as an endocrinologist, cardiologist, and pulmonologist, respectively. Your doctor will consider any preferences you have regarding the gender or location of the sub-specialist.
Primary Care Physician Accepting New Patients in North Bethesda, Maryland
Whereas the typical primary care practice is unable to provide truly personalized service due to an overwhelming volume of patients, concierge primary care medicine provides a greater opportunity to establish a solid patient-doctor relationship that is more beneficial to your long-term health.
Some of the great benefits of having a concierge primary care physician are that you are entitled to 24/7 access to medical care, appointments at your convenience, and more time spent with your doctor during physicals, illness visits, and chronic care follow-ups.
Dr. Adam Possner at North Bethesda Primary Care is a board-certified internal medicine physician offering concierge medicine services that are second to none. To learn more about our membership-based practice and patient-centered primary care, call us today at (301) 941-4414 or fill out our online form to request a complimentary meeting with Dr. Possner. We look forward to getting to know you and being your healthcare partner!