My name is Lilith Maclin and if you suffer from a digestive disorder, you can find a wealth of information about this type of medical condition in my blog. Three years ago, my husband was having severe stomach cramps and his doctor told him that he had a digestive disorder called ulcerative colitis. After my husband was diagnosed, I did thorough research to learn how to control and manage this disorder. We kept track of everything that my husband ate and when a certain food caused a flare-up of his condition, he eliminated that food from his diet. By learning all we could about this digestive disorder, my husband has been able to live pain free. If you want more information about this disorder and how to manage it, you can find it here by reading my blog.
Retail centers and drug stores with urgent care clinics make it very easy to forget about the family doctor altogether. Instead of scheduling routine visits and going through the hassle of yearly wellness exams, you may be tempted to ditch your doc and just rely on the urgent care clinic for the one or two times that you actually need a doctor during the year—especially if your doctor's office isn't the most convenient but there's an urgent care a few blocks from where you live or work.
Don't. It may seem like an okay idea, but it's really not in your best interest. Here's why you should keep your family physician, even if you don't have anything seriously wrong with you.
1.) Your family physician is more likely to notice subtle changes in you that could be a serious disorder.
That once or twice a year well-check that your doctor insists on? There's a good reason for that. There are sometimes small signs that you may be developing a hidden medical condition that can be spotted by the differences you show over time. If you've picked up a number of unwanted pounds, for example, despite no change in lifestyle or diet, it could point to an underactive thyroid. A dramatic loss in weight, on the other hand, could be the result of a hormone imbalance, an improperly working adrenal system, or something as serious as cancer.
By relying on urgent care clinics alone for your health care needs, you could be missing out on something important that could end up making you very sick in the long run if it isn't treated early.
2.) Urgent care clinics aren't going to check for hidden complications behind common conditions.
Urgent care clinics are there to treat your immediate symptoms and move you back out the door as fast as possible. If you show up three times in a row with a sinus infection, the odds are good that you're going to get an antibiotic and a steroid pack three times in a row to treat the infection—because they'll work in the short term and get you back on your feet.
Your family physician, on the other hand, is going to be alerted that something is likely making you susceptible to those sinus infections and start searching for a hidden cause. Your physician may start to look for something that's triggering the multiple attacks, like a hidden mold infection or nasal polyps. By locating and treating the underlying condition, your physician can keep you healthier overall (and prevent you from joining the ranks of people who have been overexposed to antibiotics, which could put you at risk of becoming unaffected by them in the future when you really need them).
In short, urgent care clinics have their place—sometimes you get sick on a Saturday or your doctor's out of town, or you really feel too sick to drive the 1/2 hour to your doctor's office when the urgent care clinic is only 5 minutes away. But a family doctor like Harvey Harold E II MD PLLC plays a vital role in your overall health and wellbeing that you don't want to discount or let slide.