Establishing a primary care physician as early in life as possible is extremely important in order to have a baseline established and personal health history recorded throughout your life. Most importantly, by establishing a primary care provider early in life, patients develop a greater level of trust and a better relationship with their doctor. Then, when you do get sick, you have someone that you know - and that knows you - that you can call. This is important, as patients need to be open about their health history and any sort of symptoms, in order for doctors to properly assess and treat their conditions.
Primary care physicians play a critical role in preventative care by making sure you get the right screenings when you need them. As an adult, screenings could include mammography, gynecologic exam, colonoscopy, prostate exam or bone density scans, and your provider will recommend them when they are appropriate. They will also keep you up to date on any vaccines, such as shingles, pneumonia or flu, to prevent future illnesses. If a primary care physician knows your family history, they can also watch for illnesses that you are at risk for, and monitor your risk factors.
Primary care providers also help control chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes. They can individualize medicine to provide you with the best possible treatment for you, rather than a “one size fits all” approach. Primary care physicians aim to treat you as an individual, not just as an illness, but to do so, they need know what is normal for you. Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care physicians dedicated to educating and caring for individuals throughout the community in order to promote overall wellbeing and good quality of life.
Dr. Syed Shah is a family medicine specialist at West Burlington Medical Center and a member of the Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Shah received his Doctor of Medicine from American University of the Caribbean, SOM in 2009. He completed his residency in family medicine at Duke/ Southern Regional-AHEC in 2014.