Sustaining good health status requires regularly seeing a doctor. Far too many people hold off on a doctor visit until they already feel ill. You should see a doctor even when you feel healthy.

Someone with a busy schedule may feel like a visit to the doctor’s office is a waste of time when they feel healthy – however, forgoing regular check-ups can spur detrimental health issues in the long-term. Research shows that people who regularly visit a doctor live longer, healthier lives. Studies even suggest that 125k+ deaths per year in the United States could be averted through an increase in available primary care physicians. People who access primary care are less likely to die from cancer, heart disease, stroke and numerous other illnesses.

Accessing primary care, even when seemingly healthy, provides too many benefits to ignore. So what constitutes primary care, exactly? The Institute of Medicine puts it this way: “The provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community.”

Let’s delve into some of primary care’s benefits.

Continuity of Care
Establishing a rapport with a doctor provides continuity of care. This can greatly impact your overall health as your relationship with a doctor grows and enhances. You and your doctor can together formulate a health plan and goals customized to precisely to you. Each time you see your doctor, they will gain valuable information about your health. Ultimately, they will help you gain a better grip on your health.

Having a “Point Person”
A primary care doctor can also play the role of health coordinator for you. They can help you navigate the sometimes-convoluted world of healthcare. They can find the right specialist for you, know how the medicine and supplements you’re taking might interact with each other, know the right tests and other diagnostics you’ll need, and more. Having someone who can properly steer you and answer any question regarding your care is critical to obtaining and sustaining good overall health.

Peace of Mind/Prevention
It can feel overwhelming and disconcerting thinking about your health. While some may turn to WebMD to dispel these worries, nothing beats actually seeing a doctor. Knowing you have a regular doctor can put concerns to rest.

Related to peace of mind, regularly seeing a doctor even when you’re healthy means you’re taking preventative measures. Having simple blood tests, getting shots, and undergoing regular screenings now means you are always the healthiest version of you. And if there is a concern or issue as the result of a visit, you are likely catching it early.

Take control of your health and see a doctor. Sure, it can feel like a hassle, but an hour at the doctor’s office can mean added years to your life. See a doctor and be healthy.

Need a primary care physician? Find a primary care practice near you with our Physician Finder, here.