Unless you’re faced with a severe illness or you have an irrefutable reason, most people don’t think to make an appointment with their family doctor. A visit to the family practitioner is rarely at the top of the list of things people want to do. We have busy schedules, kids to raise, long hours at work, a home to manage, hobbies, friends, families, and a laundry list of other things that keep us running around. However, “taking care of #1” at a family medicine practice should still be a priority, because, like a car, if you don’t do routine maintenance, you may not get far. Below is a list of reason you should visit your primary doctor that don’t require you to be coughing and sneezing.

Familiarize Yourself with Your Health History and Risks

Perhaps your family has a history of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease? If so, you will want to know so that you can get the proper screening with your primary doctor, who will discuss preventative care with you. Have you gotten used to certain strange symptoms and chalked them up to just getting older? There may be a reason behind them, and your family doctor can help put the pieces together to ensure you have all the knowledge and access to all available options.

Managing Mental Health Is Important for Everyone

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut in life? Has it ever lasted so long that you can’t even remember when it began? A visit to your primary can help to identify risks of depression, hormonal changes, chemical imbalances, and other factors that may lead to feelings of depression. We aren’t always aware of the symptoms, so it’s important to maintain routine mental health screenings. Your family doctor will assess your mental health, and can prescribe medication or advise you of lifestyle changes that can help.

Healthy Cervix and Prostate

I have yet to meet a woman who looks forward to a yearly gynecologist visit, or a man who gets excited about getting his prostate checked, but it’s one of the most important things men and women can do for their health. Your family practitioner can screen for infections, STD’s, cancer, and other reproductive issues. It is recommended that women between the ages of 21 and 65 visit their family doctor at least once every three years for screenings, or more if you’ve had any abnormalities. Men are encouraged to visit their primary doctor for reproductive screenings annually beginning at the age of 50, unless you’re at a higher risk or have had a first degree relative who had a reproductive issue, in which case, they should be checked at 40 years of age.

Prevention to Put Your Mind at Ease

Whether you have general health questions, serious concerns, a pregnancy, or just want to be able to cross it off your extensive list of things to think about, it’s important to periodically check in with family medicine. A quick google search doesn’t always give accurate answers to health concerns, so it’s worth it to take a day and make an appointment with your primary doctor. Prevention is number one when it comes to staying healthy. Vaccines, screenings, and other tests can be the difference between a simple fix and a long-term illness. Although it may not be how you see your ideal afternoon, it’s better to spend an hour with our family doctor now, than several months or years in hospitals later.

To Secure a Strong Relationship with Your Family Doctor

It’s a great feeling to know that if you ever needed a trusted family Practitioner, you have one lined up. The last thing anyone wants to do when they fall ill, is having to go through an extensive list of potential family doctors, looking for one who feels like a good fit. Finding and maintaining a relationship with your primary doctor bring a sense of security that everyone should have, just in case.

There are many other reasons to be involved in family medicine, but the main thing to know is that unless you go, you’ll never know what to look for. Staying up to date and in the know about your own health should be everyone’s priority.