Let's hope that you do not have to see a doctor for any health problems for a long time, if ever. But you do need health maintenance visits. Just like your car, your body needs to be checked and maintained on a regular basis for it to run in top shape.

For a regular maintenance check, you need a primary care doctor

In addition to seeing you for conditions within his or her field, your primary care doctor can refer you to appropriate specialists when the issues you have are beyond his or her expertise. Your primary care doctor can also coordinate with specialists and make sure that the recommendations fit your personal needs. Your primary care doctor is the head coach for your total health care. He or she sees the big picture.

Your Primary Care Doctor Specializes in you

Often a patient comes to me for the first time with a list of specialists for his or her different physical ailments. Many times the recommendations by the specialists are perfect for a hypothetical textbook patient, but not appropriate for the particular person, given different circumstances, other treatments, and coexisting health conditions.

The specialists do not always know what the other specialists are doing. And often a primary care doctor can easily and competently treat the conditions for which this patient spends a lot of time and money seeing the separate specialists. Imagine shooting a fly with a cannonball, or several cannonballs at the same time. All one needs is a lightweight flyswatter.

After all, each specialist sees you only within his or her speciality: your guts, your heart, your skin, your eyes, or your brain. But all these body parts belong to a whole, which is you.

On the other hand, your primary care doctor specializes in you! He or she specializes in your body, your psychological health, and your emotional health, all combined.