When you are feeling ill or sustain an injury, your first stop for medical care is your primary care physician (PCP). However, your PCP offers a lot more than just “reactive” diagnosis and treatment for what ails you. This doctor also provides “proactive” preventive medical care, which is designed to detect or prevent disease and medical problems before they can become major or from happening in the first place.
Let’s talk about how preventive primary care can help you, and where you can go in South Florida and Central Florida for outstanding primary care so you can stay as consistently healthy as possible.
What Is Preventive Primary Care?
Clinical preventive medicine is defined as the maintenance of good health and the reduction of risk factors that can result in injury and disease. This approach takes into account your lifestyle and your own personal medical history, as well as that of your close relatives (parents, siblings, children) – which can indicate inherited vulnerabilities.
Preventive primary care services include:
- An annual checkup: This is a yearly visit when your PCP reviews all areas of your health – both physical and behavioral (also called emotional health or mental health). This helps your doctor detect any health concerns early before they can develop into major medical problems. The doctor will likely take blood work and ask you to provide a urine sample so they can perform a urinalysis, and these will be tested in a medical laboratory for things like blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Flu shot: This annual vaccination helps protect you from active strains of the influenza virus, and it is typically covered 100% under most healthcare plans. Children as young as 6 months are eligible for starting annual flu shots.
- Mammogram: These routine X-rays of breast tissue are recommended for women by age 40 – or even earlier for women who have a family history of breast cancer – and it can detect signs of breast cancer or other abnormalities. This screening is typically covered by health insurance, and some plans also cover the cost of the more high-tech 3D imaging mammography technology.
- Colonoscopy: This screening for colon cancer is typically performed once every 10 years, usually after the age of 50. This test is overtly preventive, because the doctor who is performing your colonoscopy will go ahead and remove any polyps that are found. Polyps can be precancerous, so this can be a life-saving procedure.
- Vaccinations and booster shots (usually administered during childhood, plus boosters as recommended by your doctor): This includes vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and other harmful diseases. As you get older, your primary care physician will also recommend getting vaccinated for shingles and pneumonia.
By law, most health plans are required to completely cover eligible preventive care services. That includes health insurance plans obtained through your employer as well as those you may purchase on your own, as long as your doctor is in-network.
Knowing What Preventive Care You Need and When to Get It
Your PCP can identify and coordinate the tests and vaccinations that are right for you. This will depend on factors such as your age, sex, family medical history, current health status, and other considerations.
If you have any questions about which preventive care services are covered and which are not, or when you should have certain tests done, don’t hesitate to ask your primary care doctor.
Comprehensive Health Services in South Florida and Central Florida
Palm Medical Centers comprises board-certified primary care physicians and in-house specialists who focus on providing comprehensive and preventive healthcare. We have many convenient locations throughout South Florida and Central Florida.
Our dedicated medical team offers a wide range of healthcare services, and we utilize the latest advancements in modern medicine to diagnose, treat, and support you and your loved ones in a highly efficient yet personalized way.
For more information about us or our services, or to schedule an appointment, call our location near you. We look forward to being your primary care healthcare provider!