When it comes to staying on top of your health, it is crucial to meet regularly with your primary care provider. But why is it important? And what can you expect?
“Your annual wellness visit is a key component of your overall health,” says Robert E. Bilbao, M.D., a board-certified specialist in family medicine who sees patients at PrimeCare Clinic in Columbia. “These visits play a significant role in ensuring you have no underlying health conditions that need to be addressed and, if there are any, identifying and helping you to manage them before they can escalate into serious problems.”
During your exam, your primary care provider will most likely:
- Take your blood pressure
- Check your height, weight, eyes and ears
- Check your abdomen, thyroid glands and lymph nodes for abnormalities
- Listen to your heart and lungs
- Ask to schedule a blood draw to assess common health indicators, such as glucose and cholesterol
- Ask about any chronic conditions you are managing
- Provide personalized advice, including a schedule for preventive screenings and immunizations, outlining goals to improve your overall health and referring you to a specialist if needed
Your provider will also ask questions about your personal medical history and lifestyle as well as your overall family health history. It’s important to have an honest discussion with your provider so you can both be aware of any conditions or diseases you may be at greater risk for inheriting or developing.
This assessment will help you and your provider know what areas to keep an eye on, what goals to set (e.g., increasing exercise, quitting smoking or cutting back on alcohol consumption) and when you may need certain health screenings, such as a CT lung screening to assess your lung cancer risk or an ultrasound to determine your stroke risk.
Make sure to bring a list of any questions you have about your health and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions for clarification. You should also bring a list of current medications and supplements you are taking and their dosages. Bring a pen and paper to take notes so you can refer back to your discussion later.
“It’s important to keep a wellness visit on your calendar every year or more frequently if your doctor advises,” Dr. Bilbao says. “Even if you consider yourself to be a healthy individual, an annual visit is extremely beneficial as it can help to diagnose an underlying condition you may be unaware of or provide affirmation that you are on the right track.”
If you do not have a personal primary care provider, visit our "Find a Doctor" tool and search by specialty or go to MauryRegionalMedicalGroup.com for an overview of primary care practices and providers in the Maury Regional Medical Group network.
Robert E. Bilbao, M.D.,
is a board-certified specialist in family medicine associated with Maury Regional Medical Group. Dr. Bilbao sees patients at PrimeCare Clinic, which is located at 854 W. James Campbell Blvd., Suite 403, in Columbia, Tennessee.