What is Family Medicine?
Family medicine covers the treatment of a wide variety of symptoms and diseases in individuals ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics. There are many aspects of family medicine that benefit individuals of all ages and health backgrounds. Family history, age, diet and lifestyle are several contributing factors to determine when health care is necessary. The patient can be cared for by one specific family doctor who can take care of an individual and their entire family’s needs, from pediatric to adult/geriatric care. The foundation of family medicine is an ongoing, personal relationship between the individual and their doctor. By working together as a team and involving the patient in the decision making, we create a plan based on your goals and then coordinate the care to achieve those goals – so you can be your healthiest.
What Does a Family Doctor Do?
Unlike other specialists, family doctors are uniquely trained to treat individuals as a whole person, regardless of age or sex. They provide specialized care for health issues that are of common occurrence during every stage of the patient’s life. In addition to diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses, your family doctor provides routine health screenings and discusses lifestyle changes to prevent illnesses before they develop. Family doctors also have a working relationship with specialists to continue care that needs specific expertise. They will guide and coordinate all aspects of the patient’s care. Near your home or office, your family doctors are part of a trusted health care system that offers comprehensive, coordinated care through every stage of life.
What Conditions Does a Family Doctor Treat?
Family medicine covers anything from annual exams and preventative care to treatment for illnesses and injuries no matter the patient’s age or race. A family can rest safely knowing their primary care doctor is responsible for their family’s ongoing health care needs.
A physical exam should occur annually with your family doctor, especially for those over age 50. Doctors will cater to the patient’s particular age, gender, and individual risk factors to ensure they receive the care they need. This exam is also a great time to check for things that may otherwise go unnoticed.
What Services do Family Doctors Provide?
Family doctors are well versed in many aspects of medicine and perform a wide variety of services. Focusing on preventative and routine care, family doctors offer a variety of services for people of all ages including but not limited to:
- Preventive Care: routine and annual exams, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol checks and neurological, lung and head and neck exams, etc.
- Short-term Illness or Injuries: any treatment for an injury or illness.
- Women’s Health: pap smears, pelvic and breast exams, prenatal and postpartum care.
- Men’s Health: regular check-ups, healthy lifestyle tips and prostate exams.
- Children and Adolescents: pediatric health care for infants, and children and adolescents often until individuals are 18 years of age.
- Immunizations: flu shots and allergy injections.
- Asthma Treatment: working with the patient to determine treatment options.
- Ear, Nose and Throat Care: treatment of any disease that may affect the ears, nose, and throat.
- High cholesterol: a low-fat diet, exercise and medications can reduce high cholesterol and risk for heart disease and stroke
- High blood pressure: medications are commonly used to control hypertension and decrease risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease
- Obesity: when weight and body mass exceed healthy limits, there is increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, digestive problems, breathing problems and arthritis
- Diabetes: different diabetes types require different treatment but can be managed or cured with the right medical care
- Treatment of Chronic Conditions: developing a plan best suited to treat a particular individual’s needs.
- Bone and Joint Care: any treatment specific to bone and joint care and breaks and fractures of the bone.
Benefits of UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine
The benefits of having a primary care doctor are endless. A family doctor knows the patient/family history and has access to the personal health care records. That means they can better coordinate the patient’s care, no matter where that may be, between the doctor’s office, the hospital or care at home. Individuals that have an ongoing relationship with their family doctor have been shown to have better overall health and quality of life. Our team of UnityPoint Health family medicine doctors is committed to providing the best outcome for every patient every time.