Understanding the Importance of Having a Primary Care Provider


For every stage of life, good health starts with your primary care provider (PCP). A long-term relationship with a PCP can keep you healthier for longer, treat you when you are sick, and help you get advanced care when you need it. Unfortunately most people wait until they have a problem to find a medical provider. Delaying preventative care or avoiding the doctor’s office altogether may set you up for some unexpected health complications in the future.

 “In most cases you will see your PCP more than any other medical provider, establishing this relationship sooner than later is critical,” shares Priyanka Yerragorla, MD, MSc a primary care physician with Hannibal Regional Medical Group. 

Dr. Yerragorla shares three reasons why you should have a PCP:

First, there are very few healthcare providers who know you as well as your primary care provider. When you have an established relationship with your PCP you will see them at least once a year which means they know your:

·        Medical history

·        Family health history

·        Medications

·        Lifestyle habits

Knowing these things provides your PCP with the information they need to help you prevent disease through proactive health screenings and lifestyle modifications. If and when something goes wrong, they are more likely to catch it early because they are actively monitoring your health.

Second, your PCP is an expert in a broad range of conditions, especially when it comes to chronic diseases including:

·        Diabetes

·        Heart disease

·        High blood pressure

·        Obesity

·        Cancer

Many times in the early stages of a chronic disease people might not have symptoms or feel bad. That is why it is important to make sure you schedule an appointment with your PCP at least once a year, since they are continually looking for warning signs which could indicate a problem.

Finally, scheduling an exam at least once a year with your PCP can help them catch signs of disease earlier which increases your chance of receiving treatment before things get too serious. Individuals who do not have a PCP are more likely to end up in the emergency room, often leading to an unexpected hospital stay.

Dr. Yerragorla’s philosophy on medicine is to provide compassionate and personalized care through a team approach. “My goal is to work with both the patient and their families not only regarding their medical illness, but also on the importance of preventative care, healthy lifestyle, and medication compliance,” shares Dr. Yerragorla. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Yerragorla or another medical provider, call Hannibal Regional Medical Group 573-629-3500.