The human body is complex, so is extremely important to have someone with special expertise to help you keep you healthy and well.
Family practitioners are among the most important professionals available to you to help you maintain your health and wellness.
Why? These are doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who are the first line of defense for you and your entire family. Having a family practitioner (FP) is having someone on your side, someone who gets to know you well over time, someone who understands YOU, not just medicine. And that’s a valuable asset to have in your life at any age. Even if you don’t see them often or for very long, your FP at Southwest Health will always be focused on you.
Says Family Medicine Specialist Aditya Sukhwal, MD, MS, FAAFP, “We take better care of our cars than we do of our bodies. Most of us would never forego our routine oil changes or tire rotations for our cars. Yet we skip basic health screenings shown to prolong and improve our lives. Each of us only gets one body, so we need to take care of it the best way we can. When your doctor’s office calls to let you know you’re due for routine tests, appointments or immunizations, we should all heed that advice because our goal as practitioners is to work with you to help you live the longest, the healthiest and the happiest life possible.”
Family practitioners at Southwest Health strive to get a good understanding of the person you are. They get to know what’s important to you, who your family members are, how your job affects you, and even what you want out of life. Some things that might seem unrelated to your care often make a big impact on your health. By getting to know you, our experienced professional FPs understand your health in ways test results and x-rays cannot.
Any one symptom can stem from a wide range of possible causes. Your FP approaches your care with an open mind, attentive to your words and condition, carefully considering the many explanations before helping you make decisions.
And you never have to prove yourself to your FP. When you’re in pain and need their help, they listen, and they will believe you when others won’t. They understand what’s normal for you because they can track and note changes, and in doing so they gain the long view of your medical history. What they won’t do is shame you or add to your troubles. The opposite is true, in fact. They are there to help you make the health care decisions that are best for you.
Researchers have shown in many well-documented studies the benefits of having a relationship with a family practitioner. The more FPs in a population, the better the health outcomes, including fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Having more family practitioners in a community is associated with longer life spans, and adding practitioners results in fewer deaths (International Journal of Health Services http://www.jhsph.edu/sebin/m/n/2007_IJHS_Macinko.pdf).
Your family care practitioner will be there to catch and correct high blood pressure, for example, before you find yourself in the ER with a life-altering stroke. They often even notice things about our bodies and our emotions that we ourselves do not. And your FP may catch something early simply because they’re so familiar with you.
Says Dr. Sukhwal, “One of the roles of family practitioners is health maintenance, which is all the preventative services required for one’s age and health condition. For example, people who have Diabetes should have their cholesterol, kidney function, HbA1C [a level that looks at average blood sugar values over a 3 month period of time] checked on a regular basis. People over 50 should have colorectal screening done on a regular basis. All studies show that preventing medical problems or finding them out early reduces poor outcomes. It is much better to find out today that you have a colon polyp rather than finding out a year from now that you have colon cancer throughout your body.”
Of course, getting to know your FCP doesn’t happen overnight. And because it pays off in such important ways, the very best time to start building that relationship with your is always right now.
Why not? Well, people today are really busy, and we often don’t make time for what’s really important. Fortunately, the local team of experienced FPs at Southwest Health make appointments easy-to-schedule. To find the FP who’s right for you, visit southwesthealth.org where you can find details on each of them, including video profiles. Or, call one of Southwest Health’s primary care clinics (348-4330 in Platteville or 774-2767 in Cuba City), and start building your family practitioner relationship today.