When was the last time you went to the doctor? Was it when your mom forced you? Or when you needed a physical to play sports in high school?
Recent studies have shown that children and older adults are the most likely to have a scheduled doctor appointment. Adolescents and young adults from age 16-35 are the least likely to visit a primary care provider. People in this age range are also more likely to be rushed to the hospital in an emergency than to schedule an appointment preemptively.
When we get sick as college students, we tend to “tough it out.” We will take Advil or DayQuil and just try to make it through the day. We have exams to take and papers to write. We do not have time to go to the doctor. However, it is always important to prioritize our physical health. By going to the doctor before your symptoms get out of hand, you are able to actually save money and recover more quickly.
Doctors’ appointments also serve a purpose beyond sickness. We should have regular doctors’ appointments even when we feel healthy. Preventative healthcare is the easiest way to catch health problems before they become problems that are much more difficult to solve. A primary care physician can tell you which disorders you may be at risk for and provide practical, preventative solutions.
Health professionals have a wealth of knowledge on diet, exercise, managing stress and other healthy habits that are sometimes ignored by college students. The role of a primary care provider is also designed so you can have someone to talk to about your health concerns. There may be certain disorders that run in your family or perhaps you just have questions or concerns based on your lifestyle. Whatever the situation, primary care physicians can come alongside you and help you live the healthiest life you can.
When we turn 18 and enter adulthood, we stop seeing a pediatrician. We are also moving to college and figuring out our lives on our own for the first time. Finding a primary care provider is often lost in the shuffle. However, we should never neglect our physical health. Everyone should have a primary care physician they can turn to with questions or concerns. Scheduling yearly doctors’ appointments are an easy way to stay healthy. This way, when a health concern does arise, we will have someone to turn to who knows us rather than desperately searching for a nearby urgent care.