Primary Care Physicians: Looking At The Whole Picture

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With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, self–care is often put on the back burner. More and more frequently, patients are visiting Urgent Care facilities to treat symptoms periodically, rather than seeking regular treatment from a Primary Care Physician. However, this pattern can lead to lengthened recovery times, lingering symptoms, or even further medical issues, as the root of the problem is overlooked in favor of providing temporary symptom relief. Additionally, in these cases, physicians may not be aware of or familiar with a particular patient\’s medical history and daily life that can be crucial in developing a treatment plan.

Below, Dr. Andy Fine explains some of the many benefits of annual check–ups with your Primary Care Physician.

Treating Symptoms Versus Looking at the Whole Picture

“Often times, you have to visit different specialists for various problems, and no one ever coordinates to see what medications or what tests might affect other parts of you. In this case, preventative measures end up getting neglected. As a Primary Care Doctor, I not only screen patients, but also provide preventative care. At Colorado Primary Health Care, we administer vaccinations that are appropriate in preventing illness or getting a chronic disease that wouldn’t be identified otherwise. We coordinate everything and put it all together to look at the whole person and not just look at the heart, stomach, lungs, or other respective organs. Patients that visit multiple places to receive medical services can unknowingly end up getting too many medications that interact poorly, counteract, or are unnecessary. It is my job, as a Primary Care Physician, to trim it all down, and make sure you\’re only prescribed what you truly need.

For example, say you\’re on an acid blocker medication to treat acid reflux—an often over–prescribed medication. Gastroenterologists or Urgent Care Physicians may not explain that those medications affect absorption of other vitamins that are very important to health; especially in situations where the medication is taken for an extended period of time. What ends up happening in this situation is that you, the patient, will gradually lose essential vitamins and minerals because you are taking this drug to block acid production and ease the symptoms of acid reflux.

As a Primary Care Doctor, I look at complexes you have as a whole picture, contrasting the purpose of urgent care—which is meant to provide immediate relief to ailments. Unfortunately, in situations where patients solely seek out temporary relief of symptoms, Urgent Care Physicians do not have the resources immediately available to coordinate with previous physicians to determine the underlying cause of a patient\’s symptoms; they simply put a band–aid on the issue and fix your symptoms temporarily.

Instead of visiting urgent care, patients should seriously consider receiving an annual physical, and being screened for preventive care at our primary care practice. Preventative care is often covered through one\’s insurance company without any copay via a yearly general health exam. During such exams, Primary Care Physicians are able to discover ailments that have yet to present symptoms, allowing for more efficient treatment moving forward.”

What to Expect During Your First Visit with Colorado Primary Health Care

“For the first appointment, I will go over any acute or chronic problems you may have, review any current medications, talk about your health history and your family health history, as well as any personal concerns you may have. We will review any previous medical records and set up a future visit to complete a physical. Additionally, during that time we would go through all the necessary preventive procedures, and complete lab work if needed.

Personally, as a primary care provider, I pride myself on the confidence I instill my patients regarding how up–to–date I am on the latest treatment recommendations and guidelines, as well knowledge of appropriate, safe, and effective medications and procedures. I am an advocate for my patients; I work to thwart off any potential things that may be a problem down the line. Also, I work to get patients off any medications they may be on that I do not find to be necessary anymore. One of the most important aspects of my practice is shared decision–making with patients. I recommend what I think is best for them, ask what their opinion is, then we work on coming to a common understanding, allowing them to feel empowered about the decision that is being made about their health.”

If you\’re experiencing any acute symptoms, or are due for your annual checkup, please call Colorado Primary Healthcare today at (303) 703-8583. We will be happy to assist you with any of your needs, and schedule an appointment at your convenience.

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