Nearly half of millennials (age 26-41) do not have a Primary Care Provider (PCP). Dr. Priyanka Yerragorla, an Internal Medicine provider at Hannibal Regional Medical Group, advises “Don’t wait until you are sick to establish care with a PCP. Meeting with and choosing a PCP when you are healthy is an invaluable investment in your health. This relationship will help you when you do encounter illness because you will have already established a relationship."
Having a primary care physician is extremely important to good health. Your PCP will work with you in all aspects of your health: disease prevention, chronic care management, decreasing the need for urgent care & emergency trips, continuity of care, helping you see the big picture of your health, and expediting specialist referrals. Your primary care provider manages your day-to-day health needs. A long-term relationship with a PCP keeps you healthier and lowers medical costs. A PCP can teach you ways to stay healthy, schedule preventative screenings, treat you when you're sick, help you get more advanced care when you need it, and review your medications.
After an acute illness or hospitalization, it is very important to see your primary care doctor and discuss all the medications you are taking and possibly discontinue the unnecessary ones. In the population above 65 years old, one in three are burdened with polypharmacy, taking more than five pills per day. Dr. Yerragorla always tries to reduce the number of medications patients take. She once had a patient who was on 51 different medications after multiple hospitalizations during the pandemic! This is one reason Dr. Yerragorla recommends “all patients bring their medication bottles (not just a list) to their PCP at least once a year to reconcile and discontinue unnecessary medications. Not only does this reduce medical bills to the patient, it also avoids harmful drug-to-drug interactions.”
Another aspect of healthcare some providers will counsel their patients on is healthy eating and lifestyles. Obesity is on the rise all over America and in Missouri, nearly 30-35% of people are obese. Dr. Yerragorla has a special interest in Obesity Medicine. She wants to “help her patients achieve their healthy weight goal with counseling, dietary changes, exercising and weight loss medications when indicated.” Making these types of changes can have significant positive impacts on other aspects of your health, and reduce the risk of future chronic conditions like diabetes.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Priyanka Yerragorla, please call Hannibal Regional Medical Group at 573-629-3500.