Making an appointment to see a primary care provider should not be something you do only when you feel sick.
It’s an important step to maintaining your overall health and wellness now and down the road. Research has shown that patients who see a primary care provider have, on average, 33 percent lower annual health care expenses and a 19 percent lower mortality rate than patients who don’t.
“My role is about preventative medicine,” says Victoria Wilson, M.D., a primary care physician with Carroll Health Group. “I see patients for routine check-ups and screen for signs that they may be developing various health issues.”
At an annual check-up, a primary care physician reviews your health history and family history and looks for changes in your health since your last visit. The goal is both prevention and early detection. Ideally, that means spotting the warning signs of a disease before it emerges, or, if necessary, catching a disease before it progresses to a more advanced—and less treatable—state.
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability, and heart attacks and stroke account for one-third of all deaths in the United States,” says Dr. Wilson. “We start screening for obesity at age 6 and continue to screen for risks across different populations, depending on race and ethnicity, age and gender. Risks include family history, smoking, high cholesterol, high sugar, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of physical activity. In patients who make annual appointments for check-ups, we can monitor the progression of these factors over time, so we can address them before they become problematic.”
A primary care provider can also screen for signs of cancer, which, if caught early enough, can make treatment quicker and easier, possibly eliminating the need for more intense treatments, such as chemotherapy.
“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in both men and women,” says Dr. Wilson. “A regular check-up can be the first step in preventing the spread or growth of cancer cells.” Routine screenings for breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancers are recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and primary care providers will recommend these screenings based on a patient’s age, risk factors, lifestyle and family history, says Dr. Wilson.
Making an appointment to see a primary care provider can be nerve-wracking, but Carroll Health Group is here to make it easier. With more than a dozen providers seeing patients in seven offices throughout Carroll County, you won’t have to travel far to receive exceptional care.
“I’ve been with Carroll Health Group for eight years,” says Dr. Wilson. “The physicians here are a group of the most hardworking, caring, honest, compassionate doctors I have worked with. They take the time to really get to know their patients and make them comfortable with the annual check-up process.”
Schedule your annual check-up. To find a primary care provider near you, visit physicians.CarrollHospitalCenter.org
From the fall 2018 issue of A Healthy Dose, Carroll Hospital’s award-winning community magazine.