Family doctors typically treat patients of all ages. This means they are often well aware of the unique health care needs patients have at different stages of life. Such doctors have knowledge of a wide range of health conditions, so they can likely tell when something’s not right — or when something you’ve been worrying about is perfectly normal or easily treatable. Annual checkups with the same doctor also make it easier to identify times when you may need certain vaccinations or preventative health screenings appropriate for your age.
Your medical history can be a valuable piece of your health puzzle. Family doctors track not only the times when you’ve had your shots or when you’ve been sick or hospitalized, but also things like whether or not high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes runs in your family. If you have a family history of cancer, for example, you may benefit more from preventative screenings for certain types of cancer; or if you are planning to have children, genetic counseling may be recommended if you have a medical history that suggests a higher risk for genetic defects or a hereditary disease.