Primary care physicians, also referred to as general practitioners or family doctors, play an essential role in helping people of all ages maintain their health. They provide comprehensive care for patients with a wide variety of both chronic and acute problems and offer referrals to specialists as necessary. Read on to find out about the type of medical services provided by an Austin primary care physician.
Annual Physicals and Wellness Exams
Healthy people generally visit their primary care physicians once each year for a physical and a comprehensive wellness exam. During this appointment, the general practitioner reviews the patient’s medical and social history, performs a full health exam, and offers preventative care such as vaccinations to prevent illness. Depending on their ages and other demographics, patients can also expect to undergo screenings for everything from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to depression.
Care for Acute Illnesses
When patients are experiencing worrisome symptoms that are concerning but not life-threatening, scheduling an appointment with a primary care doctor is the best way to get treatment. The family doctor will start by examining the patient and performing diagnostic tests as needed, then come up with a treatment plan. The treatment plan could include taking medications, making lifestyle changes, and/or visiting a specialist.
When most people think of illnesses, they imagine common cold symptoms. However, general practitioners can also treat other types of illnesses such as ear, urinary, and gastrointestinal infections. As long as the infection doesn’t pose an immediate threat to the patient’s life, scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician is the best way to seek treatment.
Care for Acute Injuries
Serious injuries need to be treated in an emergency room, but general practitioners can provide care for minor acute injuries. Consider scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician for:
- Minor wound care
- Preliminary checks for broken bones
- Applying splints, braces, or casts to injured limbs
- Treating minor skin infections
- Treating muscle sprains and strains
- Managing Chronic Conditions
People who suffer from chronic (long-term) health conditions can usually get the help they need managing symptoms from a primary care physician. It may be necessary to visit a specialist to get an initial diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan, but it’s general practitioners who manage medication changes and monitor drug interactions, help with putting together self-care plans, perform routine lab tests and coordinate with specialists.
The most common forms of preventative care are immunizations. Patients can visit their primary care physicians not just for annual flu shots and other CDC-recommended immunizations but also for the vaccines required to travel abroad or work in a sensitive field.
Schedule an Exam Today
If it has been more than a year since someone has undergone a basic physical exam or discussed health problems with a qualified doctor, it’s time to find a primary care physician. Family doctors treat patients of all ages and provide comprehensive healthcare services, so the best place to start is by calling to schedule an appointment with a general practitioner.