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A PCP Should Be Part of Your Health Plan

Karl, 51, is a husband, father and learning experience designer who takes good care of himself by working out regularly and eating healthy.

He has never been hospitalized or had any type of surgery. In fact, he hadn’t even been to visit a doctor in two years. So, he was surprised to learn that he was suffering from high blood pressure.

A routine blood pressure check at a health fair registered higher than recommended and motivated Karl to seek a primary care provider or PCP. His wife made him an appointment with Dr. Felix Torres, an internal medicine specialist at North Oaks Primary Care in Livingston.

During the examination, Dr. Torres recommended a low-salt diet and exercise, and eventually, a low-dose blood pressure medication.

He also diagnosed a condition that Karl had chalked up to a sprain as a metabolic disorder that could easily be treated with a healthy diet and exercise.

Like Karl, many of us juggle many roles, each bringing unique experiences and responsibilities to our lives, and others depend on us so we don’t have time to be sick. That’s why it is important to do our best to stay healthy.

The key to good health is focusing on taking care of yourself and doing things that keep you feeling your best. While it’s important to eat better and exercise, it’s also just as important to be physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy. This means understanding yourself, your needs and how to respond to them in balance.

A PCP can help do just that.

What Is A PCP?

A PCP develops a trusted partnership with you and can help you live a healthy and well life by providing regular well visits, check-ups, immunizations and preventive screenings. PCPs treat common medical problems and teach you how to make healthy lifestyle choices. If you need specialized care for a specific health concern, your primary care doctor can connect you with a specialist who has the expertise you need. It’s a partnership that works.

A PCP is often a physician, but nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also provide primary care services.

“I try to take care of myself. I exercise moderately, running 5 miles a couple of times a week and eating well,” Karl adds. “But, this is Louisiana and I like to enjoy football and bonfires and all the good food and cocktails that go along with them so it’s great having someone monitor me."

Why Are Well Visits Important?

A well visit, a scheduled appointment with your health care provider when you are not sick, helps to prevent health problems and is the perfect chance for you to talk with your provider. During this appointment, your overall health will be checked and you may receive recommended tests or immunizations.

Getting the right health services and screenings for your age, family history and lifestyle choices helps your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your PCP will work with you to develop a health care strategy that works best for you.

Karl recognizes that choosing a PCP is an important part of his health care regimen.

“I was relieved after meeting with Dr. Torres,” Karl recalls. “I never really felt bad and didn’t realize I had a problem. But it’s good to have a doctor watching out for me and keeping me on track."

Make the most of every moment in 2018 by staying well. The new year is a great time to visit your PCP or if you don’t have one, schedule an appointment to establish a relationship. Do it today. You don’t want to miss out on anything the new year has to offer!

For a list of North Oaks Physician Group primary care providers, visit To schedule an appointment, call (985) 230-APPT (2778) in Hammond or 1 (844) APPT-NOW (277-8669) in Livingston. Our providers accept most major insurance plans.