5 Topics to Bring Up at Your Next Primary Care Visit

Wellness

January 9th, 2023

5 Topics to Bring Up at Your Next Primary Care Visit

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:

  • Family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
  • Gender (men have slightly elevated risk)
  • Race and ethnicity (increased risk for Black Americans and Ashkenazi Jewish)
  • Inherited conditions such as Lynch Syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diet
  • Smoking

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:

  • Family history of breast cancer, especially a mother’s
  • Gender (women have a higher risk)
  • Race and ethnicity (increased risk for Black Americans and Ashkenazi Jewish)
  • Inherited gene alterations
  • Radiation exposure to the chest

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:

  • Back pain
  • Neck stiffness
  • Radiating pain in arms or legs
  • Limited range of motion
  • Difficulties with everyday tasks
  • Trouble walking or standing

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:

  • Unexplained bruising
  • Pale skin
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weakness in the limbs
  • Low energy

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:

  • Dark spots on skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss/gain
  • Low energy
  • Nervous energy
  • Coldness in hands and feet

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.

Peter Barley, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – Nashua

Ihab Ziada, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Daniela Connelly, MD, MPH

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Nancy Conway-Clancy, PA-C

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Birgit Houston, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Ivan Ip, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Allyson J. Janosz, NP

Primary & Specialty Care Services – Nashua

Nicola Kernan, MD

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Merrimack

Raymond King, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – Nashua

Shanta Mahmudi, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Leisa Maxwell, DO

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Hudson

Moushumi Mozumder, MD

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Milford

Safana Mushtaq, MD

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Milford

Sazia Nowrin, MD

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Hudson

Cathy O'Donnell, APRN

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Merrimack

Mary Peterson, PA-C

Primary & Specialty Care Services – Nashua

Kevin Pho, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Casey Poulios, APRN

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Robert Quirbach, MD

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Milford

Donald Reape, MD, Medical Director of Primary Care

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Elizabeth Salie, APRN

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Andrew Sebastyan, MD

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Hudson

Sara Shipley, APRN

Primary & Specialty Care Services – Nashua

Sarah Shadallah, APRN

Primary & Specialty Care Services – South Nashua

Jonathan Sixon, MD

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Milford

Jenny Smith, APRN

Family Medicine & Specialty Services – Milford

Robert Yager, MD

Primary & Specialty Care Services – Nashua

603-882-3000
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