Primary care doctors have been trained to diagnose and treat almost any disease afflicting the human body, from rashes to diabetes and beyond. Regardless of the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing, the best provider to visit is your primary care provider, who knows you and your medical history well and maintains a primary focus on you and all of your medical needs.
Primary care providers place heavy emphasis on early detection and prevention of disease. One of the most important components of your preventive care is your annual physical exam, during which time your primary care doctor will evaluate your risk factors, order appropriate screening tests, and recommend changes that can decrease your risk of disease before it ever occurs.
Because your annual physical is critical for prevention and early detection of disease, you should see your doctor at least once per year even if you feel fine.
If your doctor has referred you to a specialist, it’s because they believe you’ll benefit from the specialized knowledge, equipment, or resources they can offer for your particular problem or diagnosis.
While primary care doctors can treat most conditions, some rare or complex conditions are best handled by someone who's dedicated their career to better understanding and treating a single organ, system, or disease.
A specialist focuses on a single problem, such as cancer, while a primary care doctor focuses on the health and well-being of the patient as a whole. This includes mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Even when you’re seeing a specialist for a problem, your primary care doctor plays a vital role. They coordinate your care between disciplines, continue to monitor your health and well-being while you receive treatment, and work to prevent and detect other (related or unrelated) diseases early.
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