What Is a Primary Care Physician, and Why Do You Need One?

Primary Care Physician
13 May, 2021

What is a Primary Care Physician?

A primary care physician is a doctor trained to prevent, diagnose, and treat several illnesses and injuries. These doctors can address minor, chronic, acute, and long-term health conditions, including colds, flu, allergies, diabetes, bronchitis, etc.

Medical aspirants have to walk a long road to become a doctor that requires several years of education and training.

  • College for a bachelor’s degree – 4 years
  • Medical school – 4 years
  • Residency – depending upon the practitioner’s desire and medicine field

During the residency period, doctors spend additional three to seven years studying a particular medical specialty.

Five Main Types of Primary Care Physicians

  • Internal medicine
  • Pediatrician
  • Family medicine
  • OB-GYN
  • Pediatric Internal Medicine

The abovementioned doctors are trained and experts at treating a wide range of health conditions. However, choosing one that is right for you depends upon your health care requirements. To help you learn more, we have discussed a little more about these five types of primary care doctors and what they do; let’s read further.

Internal Medicine

They are different from other primary care physicians, mainly because they only provide care to adult patients. Also called internists, these doctors are well-trained to address both simple and complex health conditions in patients from early adults to the elderly. What do they do? Internists' job is to balance an adult person’s regular preventive care needs with specialized care needs. They are generally well versed in conditions that can occur in adulthood, for instance, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.


Pediatricians typically specialize in providing medical care to infants and children (ages 0-18). They are trained doctors to treat minor to major illnesses, injuries, and complex conditions. What do they do? Having a broad knowledge of childhood medical conditions (and ranges), Pediatricians can support children to achieve health development milestones, helping them live a healthy life today and in the future. One unique skill they have is their ability to communicate effectively with children, making them feel comfortable to discuss their problems. So, if your child is shy or a bit scared of visiting a doctor, now you know that a Pediatrician can help you a lot.

Family Medicine

You might have one doctor in contact that your family members call first when they need any medical guidance. Yes, they are called family doctors, and the best advantage of having one is that they provide care for your entire family – babies, children, adults, and elderly. What do they do? You can actually call them the primary care physicians because no matter who falls sick in your family, you can count on them as they usually know your family’s medical history and thus, can provide personalized care. With a family doctor, you can conveniently have peace of mind knowing you have a trusted doctor who can meet your family’s health care needs.

Pediatric Internal Medicine

As the term includes internal medicine and pediatrics, these doctors have two specialties, and they are certified in both. A a pediatric internal medicine doctor can attend to both kids and adults, helping them prevent, diagnose, and treat a variety of illnesses. They are also commonly called med-peds doctors. What do they do? Many patients consider med-peds doctors as they only need to visit one doctor who is a certified internist and pediatrician. Considering their broad area of expertise, med-peds can be perfect for the primary care needs of your family, even if any of your family members has medical conditions or in need of specialized care.


OB-GYN doctors have specialization in women’s health, more specifically female reproductive health. They provide routine health services and screenings such as STI testing, Pap tests, and pelvic exams. What do they do? These doctors assist women with everything, including birth control and family planning. Besides, they provide complete care in times of pregnancy and menopause. However, since they are specialized in the female reproductive system, it will be good to see both an OB-GYN and a primary care physician.

How Often Should You Visit Your Primary Care Physician? 

It is generally recommended that a healthy person should see there primary care doctor once a year; however, different people have different needs. Thus, it is important to know some factors based on which you can determine how many times you should visit your doctor. Let’s discuss the same.


People between 15 and 35 of age are usually healthy, and they don’t need to visit doctors necessarily quite often. However, people outside this bracket are recommended to see a doctor regularly.

Chronic Problems

Patients with chronic medical problems must see their doctor at least once every six months, while diabetic people are advised to visit their doctor every three months.

Health Condition    

People who are dealing with evident health problems (for example, allergies, suddenly gaining or losing weight, low BMI, etc.) must see their doctor regularly.

Family History

If your family has a history of one or more medical conditions, you must visit your doctor quite often.

Other than the above-described, there are several other factors you might want to consider before deciding how often you should see a primary care physician. For example, you get to know when your physical or mental health is affected. Similarly, finding out symptoms of illness you experience means you know you have some problem. Thus, in any case, whenever you feel you are sick, you should see your doctor as soon as you can.

Overall, seeing a doctor can never be a bad idea; even if you are healthy and feeling well, visiting your doctor will give you peace of mind and helpful insights into improving and maintaining your health. Indeed, prevention is always better than cure.

Thus, regardless of all the factors, even if you are the fittest and healthiest person on earth, you should visit a doctor at least twice a year. Haven’t been to a primary care physician in previous years? Are you looking for a reliable one? For unmatched medical care and guidance, visit cvmedpro.com today and find some of the best physicians across the Central Valley. For additional information, you may also consult our Customer Service Department at (877) 216-4215 or local: 559.450.6334.