The importance of well visits
by Donna Tracy, Communications Coordinator
You wake up with a sore throat and headache. You feel worse than you’ve ever felt before. So, you call your health care provider and schedule a sick-visit appointment. It’s an important part of your health care. But did you know it’s just as important to visit your provider when you are well?
What is a well visit?
Well visits are appointments with your primary care provider that focus on your overall health. Typically, the visit includes a review of medications, as well as personal and family medical history, routine vaccinations, blood pressure and vital sign checks, blood tests, lifestyle screenings, age-appropriate screenings, depression screenings, and more.
Who should get a well visit?
Well visits are recommended for everyone – from newborns to seniors.
“An annual, complete physical exam, or well visit, is the most important thing an individual can do for his or her health,” said Nicolas Licari, a family nurse practitioner at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence. “Our goal is to keep you healthy, prevent future illness and disease, and to help you manage any existing chronic health conditions. Well visits let us get to know you, your health history, and your overall health and medical condition.”
Well visits help:
· set health goals
· track wellness
· adjust medications
· stay up to date on immunizations
· identify appropriate screenings
· catch potential issues earlier
· manage chronic conditions
Who do I see?
Do you need a primary care provider who specializes in your age group? Some providers will see patients of all ages. Others focus on specific life stages:
· general practitioners see patient of all ages
· family medicine providers see patient of all ages
· pediatricians care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults
· internal medicine providers generally see only adult patients age 18 and older
· geriatric providers specialized in senior care
Women can also opt to choose a gynecologist who focuses on women’s health as or in addition to her primary care provider.
Newborns and toddlers
Pediatricians take a closer look at issues such as cognitive and physical development, and keep track of preventive measures such as vaccinations.
“This is where health care starts,” said Jessica Robinson, a physician assistant with HopeHealth Pediatrics in Manning. “From day one or two after they are born – it is the foundation of teaching children to care for their health for the rest of their lives.”Children and teens
While COVID-19 has closed schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, children still need to complete well visits. Schools generally have immunization requirements that follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. These immunizations are often given during well visits.
“Scheduled well visits are an essential part of children’s health care and should occur in person whenever possible,” said Dr. Michael K. Foxworth II, a pediatrician at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence.
Additionally, the teenage years are a time of transitional growth and development between childhood and adulthood. Physical, neurodevelopmental, psychological, and social changes rapidly evolve during this period. It is a time of special health and developmental needs.
Teens should see their primary care provider every year for a well child visit where they can discuss any concerns, complete physical exams for participation in sports, and receive important anticipatory guidance and immunizations. By doing this, many causes of injury, illness, and death can be prevented.
Young adults, ages about 18-26, are at a crucial age for promoting their own long-term health. Through well visits, young adults are provided with the knowledge, tools, resources they need to stay healthy and prevent future diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
As adults, screenings are important tools for catching diseases early. A well visit allows discussing recommended, age-appropriate screenings including colorectal cancer screenings, mammograms for women, and prostate screenings for men.