What Concerns Do Primary Care Doctors Treat?

Your primary care doctor is your point of entry into the health care system. They’re generally the person who takes care of your day-to-day health, and the one you’ll go to first for any acute illness or injury.

 

Dr. Padma Sripada, a board-certified internist at Columbia Internal Medicine in Castleton, New York, takes a comprehensive, holistic approach to treating a wide variety of health conditions, treating you as an entire person rather than just a group of symptoms. She takes the time to learn about all aspects of your lifestyle, including your family health history, your work, your interests, and anything else that contributes to both your physical and emotional health.

What types of primary care doctors are there?

 A primary care doctor, also known as a primary care practitioner (PCP), includes all of the following categories of medical professionals:

 

 

All treat a variety of health issues and coordinate your medical care with specialists, if needed.

Family medicine

A family doctor cares for patients from newborns up through the elderly. They treat acute problems like the flu or allergic reactions as well as chronic problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

 

Many family medicine doctors focus on disease prevention, encouraging the adoption of healthy lifestyle choices, and they serve as an advocate for you if you should need to see a specialist.

 

If your doctor also treats other members of your family, they may be able to help you stay ahead of genetically linked problems like obesity and high cholesterol.

Internal medicine

An internist only treats older adolescents and adults. Like family medicine doctors, internists treat many general, common medical issues and will refer you to a specialist if more detailed care is required.

 

Internists must complete both four years of medical school and three years of residency. Their residency may include a wide array of adult medicine specialties, such as endocrinology, cardiology, and gastroenterology.

Other primary health care providers that aren’t doctors

Nurse practitioners

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (RNs). They have additional patient care responsibilities than RNs.

 

NPs can do many things that physicians do, including examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medications, and providing treatment. In fact, in 20 states they have “full practice authority,” which means they don’t have to work under a doctor’s supervision. In the remaining states, NPs must have an MD sign off on certain patient care decisions.

Physician assistant

Physician assistants do many things NPs do, including taking patient histories, performing physical exams, diagnosing different illnesses and developing appropriate treatment strategies, performing various medical procedures, and writing prescriptions. However, they always work together with a doctor and don’t operate autonomously.

What are some routine conditions your primary care doctor treats?

In addition to being your general doctor, preventive medicine advocate, and first-contact medical professional, your PCP treats a number of acute and chronic conditions, including:

 

 

Your PCP is also the provider for your annual physical exam, your yearly visit to perform blood screenings for potential disease markers and to determine your overall fitness. It’s also a time for you and your doctor to sit down and discuss any symptoms you may have noticed developing during the past year that concern you. 

 

At the same time, they can provide you with guidance on health issues related to genetics, aging, and lifestyle and discuss steps for disease prevention. They can also help you get a jump on weight gain before it leads to chronic health problems and provide general nutritional guidance.


If you’re looking for a PCP to help you manage your overall health care, as well as one who will treat you as a whole person and not just a medical complaint, look no further than Dr. Sripada at Columbia Internal Medicine. You can call the office at 518-223-9630 or book an appointment online at any time.

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