After treating acute illness, the most important part of a primary care provider's job is health maintenance. This involves the prevention or early detection of illnesses.
Ways we go about this include:
- Promotion of good health habits, like smoking cessation, good nutrition, moderation in alcohol consumption, and safe sex. After hearing your health history and family history, danger areas can be identified and addressed. We can't tell you how to live your life, but we can offer advice and information.
- A blood pressure check and examinations for early detection of cancer of the skin, thyroid, lymph nodes, breasts, rectum, prostate and genital organs may be part of your physical examination.
- Laboratory tests may include tests for diabetes, high cholesterol, colon cancer, and a pap smear for female cancers.
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy may be advised over the age of 50 (or age 40 if at higher risk) for early detection of colon cancer.
- Immunizations should be kept up to date, including a tetanus/diphtheria booster every ten years, and flu and pneumonia vaccines for the chronically ill or those over age 65.
- Mammography, Pap Smear and Pelvic Exams, and Bone Densitometry. Some exams may need a referral to a specialist such as an ophthalmologist for glaucoma or a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. Finally, we also monitor previously-diagnosed problems to ensure they won't cause further issues. Examples include hypertension and diabetes. We are especially proud of our computerized diabetes protocol which monitors our control of different aspects of this complex disease to ensure the best care.
So, even if you are in good health, see your physician every few years to age 50, and yearly thereafter to reduce the risk of a preventable death or illness.