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About Primary care doctors

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Primary Care 101

Primary care is an umbrella term used to classify several fields of medicine that provide diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and preventative care for patients of all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. Primary care providers–sometimes called PCPs–work closely with patients to help treat acute and chronic conditions while monitoring overall wellness through testing and health counseling. Many patients will elect to see the same PCP for years due to the shared knowledge of their medical and family histories.

There are several different types of primary care providers. However, primary care is most commonly associated with providers known as:

Family medicine physicians: Family medicine refers to healthcare provided for the whole family. A family medicine doctor is a primary care provider who mainly offers preventive care like immunizations, checkups, and medical advice. Doctors trained in family practice can treat patients of all ages, from pediatrics to geriatrics, so they often act as the healthcare provider for whole families.

Internal medicine physicians: An internal medicine doctor (internist) only provides primary medical care for adults. Internal medicine doctors diagnose and treat various health conditions in adult patients and provide medical advice to improve general wellness.

Pediatricians: Pediatricians are medical doctors specializing in pediatric medicine or health care for infants and children. Pediatricians can do check-ups for children, provide immunizations, diagnose conditions and illnesses, and prescribe medication. Primary care providers are usually a patient's first point of contact, meaning you will likely see a PCP before you see any other doctor in the healthcare system.

You might see a primary care provider for:

  • Acute illnesses (like the cold and flu)
  • Infections (like a UTI or ear infection)
  • Skin conditions (like skin rash or moles)
  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • Blood pressure management
  • High cholesterol
  • Non-emergency injuries (like sprains)
  • Developmental disorders (like cerebral palsy)
  • Sexual dysfunction (like infertility or ED)
  • Mental health conditions (like depression or anxiety)

Primary care providers also perform preventative and therapeutic services such as:

  • Routine checkups
  • Immunizations
  • Blood/ urine testing
  • Injury treatment (stitches, casting, splinting)
  • Medication prescription
  • Medical advice for general wellness

Primary care providers also offer referrals to specialists. In some cases, further testing or treatment is required for a specific condition. A primary care doctor will take stock of your symptoms and medical history and offer a referral for a specialist. In most cases, you can’t see a specialist without the referral of a primary care provider. They play a crucial role in ensuring patients get the proper care.

Physical Exams 101

Annual physical examinations–sometimes called routine check-ups or “full physicals”--are standard procedures used to monitor a patient’s health and wellness. In childhood, these examinations monitor a child’s growth and development while screening for underlying conditions. In adulthood, they screen for medical issues and quantify a patient’s overall health.

Some standard tests performed by doctors during a routine physical include:

Vital sign tests: Doctors will often check your blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate to test your general wellness and screen for symptoms of heart disease or high blood pressure.

Visual: Doctors will mark your height and weight to calculate your body mass index, an indicator of obesity. Doctors will visually look for any problems with your skin and unusual marks or growths on the body, as these might be signs of an underlying condition. The eyes, ears, nose, and throat will also be examined.

Percussion tests: Doctors will gently tap and press areas of the body to check for unusual lumps, irregular fluid buildup, and organ location.

Blood tests: Doctors may draw blood to check cholesterol levels and blood counts. If you are at risk for diabetes, your blood sugar levels may also be tested.

Urinalysis: Doctors may request a urine sample to test for kidney and liver disease or diabetes.

Cancer screening tests: Doctors will physically examine the lymph nodes, thyroid gland, and skin for signs of cancer. Men often have their testicles and prostate checked to screen for cancer or other irregularities. Women may have a breast exam performed to screen for breast cancer.

Booking Primary Care in Santa Ana

Sesame offers convenient and affordable in-person and video primary care appointments in Santa Ana, California.

Here’s how you book a visit:

  • Search “Primary Care” in Sesame’s search bar
  • Browse the list of available providers near you
  • Choose between video and in-person services
  • Pick a time that works best for your schedule
  • Book your visit!

Book a primary care visit with the best doctors in your area and save up to 60% on your appointment.

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