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5 Things Your Primary Care Provider Can Treat

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Your primary care provider (PCP) is your go-to for annual physicals and sick visits — but they can also provide comprehensive care well beyond annual checkups, too. We asked Arthur Pettigrew, MD, a PCP with UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Medical Group, to explain the additional kinds of services you might not know your PCP can offer.

What is a Primary Care Doctor?

“Your primary care provider may be a physician (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or physician assistant,” says Dr. Pettigrew. They practice general health care, addressing a wide variety of health concerns for patients. They are usually the first point of contact if you have a health concern. They want to build a trusting relationship with you as your long-term family provider.

You might visit a PCP for:

  • Annual wellness visits
  • A referral to a specialist
  • Blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol tests
  • Early detection of conditions and illnesses
  • Flu shots and immunizations
  • Management of chronic conditions
  • Preventive care
  • Treatment for common illnesses

Dr. Pettigrew states, “Primary care providers offer personalized guidance in managing a number of common issues and conditions.” These include the following.

1. Anxiety and Depression

PCPs are often the first to identify, diagnose and initiate treatment for mental health conditions. Two of the most common diagnoses in family medicine are anxiety and depression. They can prescribe medications like antidepressants, and the most common type of referral is for mental health counseling.

2. Digestive Issues

For digestive problems, the first point of contact should be your primary care provider. For issues like acid reflux and GERD, your primary care doctor can treat you without a referral. If your PCP determines you need more specialized care, they will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist.

3. Pain Management

Pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical attention, usually beginning with their primary care provider. Your family doctor can help alleviate your pain associated with injuries, cancer, osteoarthritis, diabetes and more. They may use pain medication, steroid injections or refer you to physical therapy.

4. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Your primary care provider can effectively diagnose and treat ADHD. They can monitor medication given and alter it as needed and refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist to supplement your treatment.

5. Gynecological Services

Women benefit from having both PCPs and OB/GYN providers. While PCPs do not provide the same specialized care that OB/GYNs do, your PCP can provide some of the same services, like prescribing birth control pills, treating vaginal or urinary tract infections and performing certain health screenings. They can also refer you for mammograms and coordinate with other specialists depending on your needs and circumstances.

Whole-Person Primary Care

“Developing an ongoing relationship with your primary care physician and making your health a priority is the best thing for you long-term,” emphasizes Dr. Pettigrew. Having a primary care provider helps you better manage chronic diseases and feel more satisfied with your care.

UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Medical Group has more than 70 primary care providers at 16 clinics throughout Chicago’s western suburbs. Each is focused on your whole-person health. Dr. Pettigrew’s office is conveniently located at 396 Remington Blvd., Suite 380 in Bolingbrook. He believes in staying up-to-date in the always-evolving field of medicine. His medical interests include diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension.

Call 224-273-4000 or click here to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. Pettigrew today. You deserve to feel whole.

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