Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend of Texas | We Investigate

Regular checkups reduces ER, hospital visits 

When was the last time you went to the doctor?

If you can’t remember the last time, it’s probably been too long.

If you were going annually for a while and got a clean bill of health each time, you still should check in with your provider before deciding to dial back your visits.

Some people go to the doctor multiple times a year, even when they are healthy and feeling well. But more often than not, people forgo seeing a doctor until they get really sick.

“It is important to have a primary care physician, not only for the regular checkups that you have and to avoid diseases that can be prevented, but also when you have a problem or questions you can ask your doctor on what to do, and that’s very important to have,” said Corpus Christi Medical Center Emergency Director Dr. Juan Ramirez.

If you want to avoid visiting the ER on a regular basis, make sure you see your primary care physician whenever necessary.

“Not going to the doctor will create the progression of diseases that could be potentially avoidable. For instance, high blood pressure is called the silent killer, and if you don’t check your blood pressure regularly or you don’t visit your doctor for these type of visits, there is no way to figure out or find out if you have high blood pressure until you have a heart attack, stroke, or have liver failure and end up on dialysis or end up blind,” Ramirez said.

The doctors can advise numerous tests and preventative screenings to help detect any risk to the patient. These screenings can identify diseases at the onset, making it easier to cure them.

“For example, there are screenings that have to be done after certain ages. Some kids have test and immunizations that have to be done, some adults require some specific procedures to be done, some females require, depending on their age, a specific test, and some elderly patients require some type of test,” Ramirez said.

In reality, how frequently you should see the doctor depends on your unique circumstances, health history and more.

Studies show Primary Care Relationship Reduces ER, Hospital Visits

The researchers sought to learn whether receipt of insurance coverage and a consistent relationship with a primary care health professional (i.e., an M.D., D.O. or nurse practitioner specializing in family medicine or general internal medicine) could reduce rates of hospitalizations and ER visits.

What they found was that patients who stayed with their chosen primary care clinician had a higher probability of having no ER visits (2.1 percent change) and no hospital admissions (1.7 percent change).

The National Institutes of Health recommends all adults should visit their health care provider from time to time, even if they are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:

  • Screen for diseases
  • Assess risk of future medical problems
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle

Why are Check-Ups Important?

Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start.

They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better.

By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare.

Where Can I Go for Health Services?

The best place to go for health services is your regular health care provider.

What Health Services are Recommended?

The links below provide information about important exams, screenings, and vaccinations.

Call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately when someone experiences any of the following:

  • wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • chest pain
  • displaced or open wound fractures
  • fainting or dizziness
  • sudden numbness or weakness
  • bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • abdominal pain – especially intense localized pain
  • fever with convulsions or any fever in children under 3 months
  • confusion or changes in mental status
  • coughing or vomiting blood
  • severe headache or head injury, especially if the individual is on aspirin or blood thinners
  • blood in the urine, or bloody diarrhea
  • sudden inability to speak, see, walk or move
Roland Rodriguez

Roland Rodriguez

Roland Rodriguez is a reporter for KRIS 6 Sunrise.
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