Over the last year, the importance of general well-being has become a cornerstone to staying healthy. There are tons of ways to practice overall health, but one of the best ways is through the help of a primary care physician (PCP).

Here are three of the top benefits of having a PCP and maintaining a relationship where you visit regularly.

1. A PCP is key to maintaining overall health

PCPs are your first line of defense in living a healthy, well-balanced life. They are highly trained to care for and treat a wide range of medical conditions and illnesses. To put it simply, they see it all and can help patients manage all kinds of health concerns.

“We see everything from allergies to heart disease and  mental health problems,” says Jessyca Campos, D.O., a PCP with Hackensack Meridian Medical Group in Piscataway who practices at JFK University Medical Center in Edison. “Primary care physicians are prepared to support a number of health concerns and conditions, and point you in the right direction if something comes up that requires specialized care.”

2. PCPs help manage your long-term health

PCPs are also dedicated to the long-term health of their patients, which requires special attention to preventative medicine, such as health screenings, immunizations and ongoing education. In fact, a recent study found that life expectancy increases in areas where PCPs are plentiful.

“The idea is that you find a PCP that you trust, and see them at least once a year (depending on your health risks and symptoms),” says Dr. Campos. “They monitor how you grow and how your body changes through the years, and are key in coaching you on how to best take care of yourself.”

During your annual wellness exam, your PCP will conduct important screenings to identify early signs of illness. If something is detected, your PCP will connect you with a specialist, if needed. While you’re seeing the specialist, your PCP will be in close contact to help guide you through any necessary care.

Many who were infected with COVID-19 are concerned about the long term impact, post infection. Some have experienced heart issues, lung problems, muscle pain and even neurological issues. If you’ve had COVID and are recovering, it’s important to connect with your PCP regularly to monitor for any troubling signs or symptoms.

3. PCPs can make you feel ‘at home’ with your care

We’ve all heard the phrase, “there’s no place like home”. Well, your PCP and the office staff can be the home base for your health. When you come in for an annual wellness exam each year, you develop a relationship with your PCP. “We get to know our patients, their lifestyles and their health history. This all helps with the coordination of their individualized care plan,” says Dr. Campos.

The relationship you build by seeing your PCP regularly helps them get to know you and understand what is normal for your health and lifestyle. Oftentimes PCPs are the first to notice when something is “off” and you need additional care.

“I know how difficult it is for people to make time for their personal health,” shares Dr. Campos. “But there are so many benefits of finding a PCP who you trust, and making sure to get those annual visits on the calendar. I tell my patients that making time for your health and well-being now, while you are healthy, helps reduce the risk of being forced to make time for a serious health issue down the road.”

Story first appeared in the online edition of the Hackensack Meridian Health publication, HealthU.

Story & Photo Credit: Newswise/pressphoto/freepik