Take Control of Your Health on World Family Doctor Day

Kansas City Photographer

Written by Wanda Filer, MD, MBA, FAAFP

A typical day for a family physician is pretty atypical. One minute, I’ll be conducting a well-baby visit, and the next minute, I’ll be checking in on an 89-year-old woman. That’s the life of a family physician. We deliver babies, care for children, advise people through their formative years and work in nursing homes. That creates a special relationship with our patients and communities, and today, World Family Doctor Day, is the day to celebrate that bond.

But World Family Doctor Day is more than just a celebration. If you’re one of the many people who fear going to the doctor, use this special day to push yourself. Ask your friends and family to recommend a family physician they trust and make an appointment. You have nothing to fear. Having a family physician as a usual source of care is the number-one thing you can do to improve your health.

While you’re at it, consider setting an appointment for your children and spouse. Family doctors often care for multiple members of the same family. This is a huge advantage for patients. When I know your family, I not only look at you as a patient, I see you in the context of your family and your community. I know what kind of work you do, your hobbies and I probably even know about your traumas and concerns. I know what health problems your other family members are having and I know what impact that’s going to have on you. All of this information helps me be a better advisor to you in your journey to better health.

As you prepare to meet with your family physician, think about your family history. Do any diseases run in your family? Think specifically about the health histories of your parents, siblings and children. Then think about the medication you take. In fact, take all of your medication, from prescribed drugs to supplements, put them in a bag, and take them with you to the appointment. All of this information will help your physician deliver the care that is most appropriate for you.

Finally, continue to see your family physician. You’ll be glad you did. A continuous relationship with a family physician will put you on the right track toward better health. When should you start this journey? There’s no time like the present. Happy World Family Doctor Day.