January 9th, 2023
As we enter the new year, many patients will be setting up their annual physical appointments with their primary care providers. Along with a yearly check-up, your PCP can provide you with referrals to specialists who can further address underlying issues and assist you with your wellness journey.
For adults now making time for their next primary care visit, consider the following list of questions to make the most of your appointment.
I’m Over 45 – Do I Need a Colonoscopy?
Starting at the age of 45, experts now recommend that all adults, regardless of risk factors, schedule a screening colonoscopy due to increasing incidences of colon cancer in adults younger than 50. However, personal factors may increase your risk and qualify you for earlier and more frequent screenings.
These factors can include:
Ask your primary care provider if speaking to a St. Joseph Hospital Gastroenterologist is right for you at this time.
When Should I Start Getting Mammograms?
Within the United States, a reported one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and 1% of all breast cancer cases develop in men. Breast self-exams (and clinical breast exams) are recommended to start at age 21-25 in women, though many will not have their first mammogram until age 40.
Factors which may prompt earlier screening include:
Ask your doctor if your personal risk should be assessed and addressed through screenings at the St. Joseph Hospital Breast Care Center.
I’m Often in Pain – Who Do I Go See?
Reoccurring symptoms of pain and discomfort are often indicators of an underlying problem that may worsen over time.
Talk to your primary care provider if you have experienced any of the following for more than 2 weeks:
Depending on the nature of your condition, your primary care provider may refer you to either an orthopedic surgeon or specialist. Addressing any problems sooner rather than later, even minor ones, providers you with easier care down the road.
I’m Always Tired – Is That Normal?
For those with unexplained fatigue, it may be an underlying symptom of a serious disorder such as anemia, a blood disease. Doctors draw blood regularly to ensure that patients’ levels of red and white blood cells, platelets, and plasma are at optimal levels.
While primary care providers usually need test results to refer you to a hematologist, outward symptoms of an internal issue include:
If you have noticed any of the mentioned symptoms lately, be sure to ask your doctor if you are up to date on your bloodwork.
My Hair is Falling Out – What is Going On?
If you have noticed persistent hair thinning, it may not be mere stress, but an issue with your thyroid. Endocrinologists are specialists skilled in diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving hormones.
Symptoms of a significant hormone balance include:
Your primary care provider is dedicated to monitoring your wellness year to year by taking your vitals and asking questions about your lifestyle. They can help make sense of confusing or concerning symptoms, even those that appear infrequently, and refer you to a trusted professional for continuation of care. At St. Joseph Hospital, we have an incredible network of specialists including doctors for oncology, endocrinology, hematology, and orthopedics.